Joe Biden needs his Joe Biden. Here's a look at the women under consideration as his vice presidential running mate
WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is looking for his Joe Biden.
The former vice president, who has committed to having a woman on the presidential ticket, has begun the vetting process for a running mate after announcing his vice presidential selection committee on April 30. He has said he wants to make his pick before Aug. 1.
Since he made that commitment to pick a woman as his running mate, several names have been floated, including some of his former Democratic opponents such as Sens. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. (Klobuchar has since removed herself from consideration.)
Biden is also facing fresh calls to choose a woman of color after following the death of George Floyd, which led to nationwide protests against police violence and systemic racism.
The Democratic nominee has openly talked about some candidates he’s considering and said he has sought advice on the decision from former President Barack Obama.
During a virtual fundraiser in April, Biden said Obama told him to find someone who has experience where the former vice president is lacking, a dynamic that worked well between the two. Biden noted he is looking for vice presidential candidate with whom he can be "simpatico."
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Here's a look at some of the women mentioned as possible running mates for Biden. All would be the first female vice president in U.S. history if Democrats win the White House in November.
Abrams was the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia in 2018. After losing that race by a fraction of the overall vote, she announced a nonprofit group called Fair Fight 2020, which staffs and funds voter protection teams in battleground states across the country. She is the former minority leader for the Georgia House of Representatives.
Abrams initially said she wasn't interested in being a vice presidential candidate but said recently she would be “honored” to be considered Biden’s running mate.
“I would be honored to be on the campaign trail as a running mate,” she told the podcast “Pod Save America,” hosted by former members of the Obama administration, last week. “But that is a process that you can’t campaign for, and I’m not campaigning for. I’m just being straightforward.”
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In March 2019, Biden met with Abrams before he announced he was running for president. Their meeting fueled speculation that the former vice president was going to jump into the race (which he did a month later) and that Abrams would be his running mate. Rumors were floated that Abrams herself was going to jump into the 2020 presidential primary.
If chosen, she would be the first Black woman on a major party's presidential ticket.
The senator from Wisconsin is the first openly gay person elected to the Senate and hails from a state Democrats need to win in November. Donald Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016, and it is a battleground state that Republicans and Democrats have invested resources in.
Biden was named the winner of the Democratic primary in Wisconsin, and a liberal judge knocked a conservative incumbent off the state Supreme Court, which has some Democrats optimistic about the party's chances in the general election. Baldwin has endorsed Biden.
Baldwin has served as senator for the Badger State since 2012. She was reelected in 2018, winning by 11 points two years after Trump won the state. Baldwin was a member of Wisconsin's State Assembly and served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District.
Bass, 66, has served California's 37th congressional district, which represents Los Angeles, for five terms and endorsed Biden for president in mid-March. She is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and is being vetted by the campaign, according to several news reports.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, whose endorsement helped revive Biden's campaign, had previously floated Bass to be considered as Biden's running mate.
"Karen Bass would be a big plus," Clyburn told CNN earlier this month. "She is a great person in my mind, I work with her every day."
Prior to being elected to Congress, Bass served in the California State Assembly. She made history in 2008 after being elected as the Speaker of the California State Assembly, where she became the first Black woman in United States history to serve as a Speaker of a state legislative body
If selected, Bass would be the first Black woman on a major party's presidential ticket.
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Bottoms endorsed Biden in the early stages of the primary election, and has been serving as a key surrogate for his campaign since June 2019. If chosen, she would be the first Black woman on a major party's presidential ticket.
Atlanta’s 60th mayor, and only the second Black woman to serve in that role, Lance Bottoms emerged as a leading figure on Biden's short list amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.
'She has found her voice':Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms steps into national spotlight amid policing debate
Floyd was a Black man died after after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes
Nearly three weeks after his death, Rayshard Brooks was shot outside an Atlanta Wendy's after officers responded to a call about a man being asleep in his car in the drive-through lane.
Bottoms, 50, moved quickly to fire the police officer who shot Brooks, and the incident led to the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields, a Bottoms ally who will remain in the department.
Demings, a two-term member of Congress, told The Washington Post last month “it’s such an honor” that her name has been mentioned as a possible vice president pick.
Before being elected to Congress in 2016, Demings was chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to hold the position. If chosen, she would be the first black woman on a major party's presidential ticket.
Biden this month told a local ABC affiliate in Florida that Demings is "one of a group of close to a dozen really qualified and talented women who are on the list."
“She is a very competent, very capable person," Biden said of Demings.
Demings, who helped lead the House impeachment efforts against Trump, also hails from a swing state: Florida. Trump won that state in 2016, and Republicans down the ballot were again successful in the 2018 midterms. Black voters, particularly women, have been a crucial part of Biden’s success and a crucial group in Democratic politics for years.
“I grew up the daughter of a maid and a janitor. I grew up poor, black and female in the South, someone who was told a lot of times that I wasn’t the right color or gender. But my mother pushed me and said, ‘No, you can make it. If you work hard and play by the rules, you can be anything you wanna be and do anything you wanna do,’ ” Demings told the Post. “So the fact that my name is being called in such a special way for such an important position during such a critical time, it’s such an honor.”
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Duckworth, a senator from Illinois, is a veteran who lost both her legs in Iraq, a Purple Heart recipient and the first woman with a disability to be elected to Congress.
In 2018, she made history as the first senator to give birth while in office. Duckworth has called Trump a “draft dodger” and slammed him for "using his privilege" to defer military service.
Before being elected to Congress, Duckworth was assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and was the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
Duckworth is the daughter of a Thai mother of Chinese descent and would be the first Asian American woman on a major party's presidential ticket.
Despite their viral clash at a debate early on in the presidential campaign, Biden hasn’t squelched speculation that Harris could end up on the Democratic ticket.
“I’m so lucky to have you be a part of this partnership going forward. Working together, we can make a great deal of progress,” he told Harris at a virtual fundraiser last week after she introduced him. “I’m coming for you, kid.”
Harris is emerging as a favorite among Biden aides, top donors and surrogates, according to a report from Politico. South Carolina Democrat Bakari Sellers, who was a top surrogate for Harris, told Politico that Harris "deserves to be chosen." He added that “a lot of people are pushing for her. She has a lot of support.”
Biden previously said “of course” he would consider Harris as a running mate.
"Sen. Harris has the capacity to be anything she wants to be. I mean it sincerely," Biden said in December shortly after Harris dropped out of the primary. "She is solid. She can be president someday herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice. She can be an attorney general. I mean, she has enormous capability."
Early last month, Harris endorsed Biden’s campaign before Super Tuesday, when he won 10 out of the 14 contests.
"I have decided that I am, with great enthusiasm, going to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States," Harris said in a video statement. "I believe in Joe. I really believe in him, and I have known him for a long time.”
Before being elected to the Senate, Harris was California's first female attorney general. Before that, she was district attorney of San Francisco.
If chosen, she would be the first black woman and first Asian American woman on a major party's presidential ticket.
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Michelle Lujan Grisham
The New Mexico governor is not one of the most well-known politicians on the list but has a long history in politics.
Lujan Grisham, the only nonwhite female Democratic governor in the country, was elected governor in 2018. She spent six years as a congresswoman representing New Mexico and was the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for 2 years.
Lujan Grisham is part of a prominent political family in New Mexico. Her uncle, Manuel Lujan Jr., served as secretary of the interior in the George H.W. Bush administration, and her grandfather, Eugene Lujan, was chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.
Lujan Grisham, who is Hispanic, could help Biden's outreach to Latino voters, a group that overwhelmingly supported Sanders in the primary.
When asked on CNN Sunday about possibly being chosen for the ticket, Lujan Grisham said, “I want to be the governor of New Mexico,” then added, “I will do whatever it takes to support a Biden administration, and I’m looking forward to a federal administration that can do a national strategy in good times and in bad times.”
If chosen, she would be the first Latina on a major party's presidential ticket.
The national security adviser in the Obama administration, Rice would bring years of national security expertise to the ticket, as well as a past working-relationship with the former vice president.
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She also served as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs during President Bill Clinton's administration, as well as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Obama.
Rice was included in the list of vice presidential possibilities Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. gave to Biden, according to the Atlantic. Clyburn is a longtime friend of Biden's, serves as House Majority Whip, and is the highest-ranking African American in Congress.
However, Rice also is a name well-known in Washington, being viewed by Republicans as a key-player in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi where Americans were killed. Additionally, allies of Trump have seized upon newly declassified portions of an email written by Rice as evidence that an investigation into her incoming successor, Michael Flynn, was politically motivated.
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Warren, who endorsed Biden Wednesday morning, could help with Biden’s unity pitch to the Democratic Party. She ran as a liberal and maintains some of her support among Democratic voters, while Biden touted more moderate policies.
Nearly three out of four — 71% — of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters said Biden should consider Warren, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll released in early May.
Harris followed at 59%, then Abrams at 50%, according to that CBS News/YouGov poll.
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Before being elected to the Senate in 2012, Warren was a Harvard law professor and led the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Barack Obama. She was the first female senator to be elected from Massachusetts.
Biden has publicly said that the Michigan governor is on his short list.
Whitmer has found herself in the national spotlight lately after the backlash she’s gotten from Trump over her criticisms of the administration’s coronavirus response. Biden, who endorsed Whitmer for governor in 2018, has repeatedly praised Whitmer and how she has handled the coronavirus pandemic in her state. She appeared on stage with him before the Michigan primary in March, along with Harris and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
Last week, Whitmer joined Biden on his podcast.
Whitmer has previously said she would not be Biden’s running mate.
"I'm going to help him vet and make sure he's got a great running mate. It is not going to be me," she told MSNBC last month. "But I'm going to have a hand in helping make sure that he has got the rounded out ticket that can win.”
Who has dropped from consideration?
The senator from Minnesota exceeded expectations by placing third in the New Hampshire Democratic primary and gained some traction after her debate performances. She dropped out of the Democratic race before Super Tuesday and endorsed Biden the same day.
Since then, Klobuchar has campaigned for Biden, and has been someone considered to be on the shortlist for running mate choices.
But Klobuchar on June 18 said she was removing her name from consideration to be vice president and urging Biden to instead select a woman of color.
'I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket': Amy Klobuchar withdraws from vice president consideration
"I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket," Klobuchar said on MSNBC. "If you want to heal this nation right now – my party, yes, but our nation – this is sure a hell of a way to do it."
Catherine Cortez Masto
Biden reportedly had said the senator from Nevada was in his “top 3” as a running mate, but Cortez Mastio said in late May she was taking herself out of the running.
“It is an honor to be considered as a potential running mate, but I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration," she said in a statement. “Nevada's economy is one of the hardest hit by the current crisis and I will continue to focus on getting Nevadans the support they need to get back on their feet."
According to Mediate, Biden had discussed Cortez Masto as a possible pick with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who vouched for the senator.
Cortez Masto, the first Latina U.S. senator, could have helped Biden garner support with Latino voters who have been skeptical of his candidac. She was first elected to the Senate in 2016. Before that, she was the Nevada attorney general.
If chosen, Cortez Masto would have been the first Latina on a major party's presidential ticket.