After months of polling, testing, and deliberating, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has selected Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the 2020 election, the campaign announced Tuesday. Harris will be the first Black woman and first Asian American woman listed on a major party’s vice presidential ballot.
In a statement, Biden called Harris “a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants” and cited her work with Beau, his son.
Harris, a 55-year-old senator from California, proved herself as an often charismatic figure on the campaign trail, even as her presidential campaign failed to gain much traction. In making the decision, it appears Biden decided to overlook criticism from many in the party’s left over her past as a prosecutor in favor of shoring up his strength among potential moderate and Black voters.
Some have noted that Biden, who had a close relationship with President Barack Obama, may have considered personality, trust, and loyalty as he was making the choice. And given that the former vice president would enter office as the oldest elected president ever, Biden may also have been pushed toward finding a younger running mate to lead the party in the next election, should he choose not to seek a second term.
In March, Biden committed to choosing a woman as his running mate, and in late April, he announced he had formed a vice presidential search committee. His initial list included about a dozen women, including former rivals in the presidential race, mayors, governors, and members of Congress. Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms were all notable names on the list. Abrams, who campaigned openly, appeared to have been struck from the list relatively early, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced in June that she was removing her name from consideration.
The search appeared to change course in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and the anti-racist protests it sparked. Biden’s campaign indicated it was looking more closely at Black women. Harris remained a prominent contender, and former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, and Rep. Karen Bass of California all made it onto Biden’s final list. Some worried the protests would tarnish the appeal of Harris, Demings, and other candidates with a history with law enforcement.
Harris and Biden currently stand a good chance of winning the presidential contest, as recent polling puts them well ahead of President Donald Trump. Biden’s and Harris’ nomination are set to be finalized at the Democratic National Convention next week.
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Aug. 11, 2020: This post has been updated with additional information.