Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden says 'enough is enough' after Santa Fe school shooting Zinke provided restricted site tours to friends: report Democrat wins Philadelphia-area state House seat for the first time in decades MORE will headline a fundraiser for the South Carolina Democratic Party later this week, in a move likely to intensify speculation that he is preparing a run for the White House.

The closed-press lunch Friday in Columbia, S.C. will come ahead of the vice president's commencement address at the University of South Carolina, according to CNN.

South Carolina's first-in-the-South primary is among the most important of the early presidential contests, and candidates have often sought to curry favor with influential figures in the state through fundraising efforts.

Already, Biden has addressed the South Carolina Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson dinner and a fish fry hosted by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).

The vice president has also travelled repeatedly to early primary states to promote the White House's political agenda. Last September, Biden visited South Carolina for an event on the president's jobs and infrastructure proposals. In late March, he travelled to New Hampshire for a series of events on job training.

Biden has repeatedly said that he is weighing a 2016 presidential bid.

During an interview with CNN earlier this year, Biden said he could not think of a good reason not to run for president, and said he would decide in the summer of 2015.

"I can't,” Biden said. “There may be reasons I don't run. But there is no obvious reason, for me, why I think I should not run.”