As presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden transitions his campaign from the primaries toward the general election, buzz is turning to a “shortlist” of his potential running mates.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., once said he would prefer an African-American woman running mate.
While Biden has not said who a frontrunner might be, he recently told a radio host that “multiple black women” are being considered for the role.
FRESHREPORTERS gathered that there are five likely contenders for position of vice president and these include:
Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan who has risen to national prominence in recent months after becoming a target of President Trump’s Twitter rage over her lockdown orders.
Whitmer’s frequent appearances on cable television to speak on her dealings with COVID-19 and the White House have only added to the impression that she may be seeking a place on the Democratic ticket. And she appears to have caught Biden’s attention early on. Biden recently told MSNBC’s Brian Williams that Whitmer “made the list in my mind two months ago.”
California Sen. Kamala Harris, former presidential candidate and long-rumored vice presidential frontrunner, has been equally vague in her answers.
Several top aides and members of Biden’s camp say Harris, who has hosted multiple campaign events is the top pick too, according to recent reporting in Politico.
Harris, 55, like Whitmer, 48, would also appeal to Democrats looking for younger representations of the party on a ticket. But Harris’s age did not prevent her from criticism.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, another former presidential candidate, was asked if she would be open to being considered for the Biden ticket, according to multiple reports. She demurred when asked by local CBS affiliate WCCO about the report, directing questions to the Biden campaign.
“I think you’re going to hear a lot of rumors out there. … In the end, it’s the vice president, Joe Biden, who’s going to make this decision,” Klobuchar said. “He’s going to decide if names are put out there. He’s going to decide who he wants as vice president.”
Another former candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has been rumored to be in consideration. Though she was often at odds with Biden during presidential debates, a source told CNN that Warren and Biden have a similar political style and thrive on personal connections.
“I would argue they very much are simpatico,” the source said. “Personal relationship is part of it. But how you view the world is too.”
Some progressives are pushing for the partnership. Former Sanders campaign co-chair Ro Khanna published an op-ed in the Boston Globe calling for a Biden-Warren ticket, claiming Biden can pursue an “FDR-like” coronavirus economic reconstruction by combining Warren’s platform with his own.
“But it is now time, in this moment of crisis, for progressives to put aside the differences of the campaign and think who would best advance the policy goals we care about and help fulfill FDR’s vision,” Khanna wrote.
“The choice is obvious. America needs Warren on the ticket in November.”
For Biden, tapping Warren could signal an attempt to pivot left without abandoning his centrist foundations — and Warren’s seemingly endless plan factory may benefit him.
Some progressives do not mirror Khanna’s optimism. Warren is reported to be hosting a high-ticket fundraiser for Biden, the type of event she vehemently disavowed during her bid for president. During one of the debates, she attacked South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg for hosting a campaign event in a wine cave in California.
“Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States,” Warren said during the debate. Later she added, “I do not sell access to my time.”
Even so, Biden has made clear that he prefers a younger running mate, and Warren, age 70, is much closer to 77-year-old Biden than the rest of the rumored shortlist.
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has not been shy about her political aspirations to be vice president. She has oftentimes spoken about her ambition and described herself in an interview with Elle magazine as an “excellent” pick. But running against current governors and members of Congress, her chances may be slim.
“I would be an excellent running mate,” she said, later adding, “I have the capacity to attract voters by motivating typically ignored communities. I have a strong history of executive and management experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. I’ve spent 25 years in independent study of foreign policy.”
Abrams, who has become something of a political celebrity, acknowledged in the interview that many see her simply as a woman who lost to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, but argued that her skills learned in preparation for that race directly translate to the office of vice president.
Even senior Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Abrams is “refreshingly direct.”
It’s unclear if a candidate can lobby her way into a presidential ticket, but Abrams’s campaign for the slot will be a clear litmus test.
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