Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has announced California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate for the 2020 election, making her the first Black woman and first Asian American person on a major party’s presidential ticket.
Harris, who early on was a Biden opponent for the nomination, brings the political prowess of winning statewide election in the largest state while also personifying the diversity that key Democratic activists have said is crucial to building grassroots enthusiasm for the ticket.
Biden tweeted the news about Harris to supporters at 4:16 pm, saying, “Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”
Amid nationwide protests for racial justice and a reform of policing, Harris served five years as attorney general in California and as a prosecutor in San Francisco. In the Senate, Harris bolstered her reputation as a shrewd debater and questioner of administration officials such as Attorney General William Barr.
But during a June 2019 Democratic debate, when Harris was still running for the nomination, she challenged Biden over his remarks about working with segregationist senators. Harris described herself as part of the second class to integrate her school as a child after mandatory school busing, which forced Biden to apologize for his earlier comments.
Harris ended her own presidential bid in December 2019. Biden said “of course” he would consider Harris as a running mate.
“Senator 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.”
At a July 28 news conference, Biden held a note card full of points to make about Harris such as “talented” and a “great help to campaign” after reports of friction between the two. But he wasn’t asked about her. “Do not hold grudges,” the card said.
Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016 and assumed office in January 2017. Before being elected to the Senate, Harris was California’s first female attorney general. Before that, she was district attorney of San Francisco.
Ahead of announcing her presidential bid, Harris drew the spotlight during the 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct by California professor Christine Blasey Ford and fiercely denied the allegations.
Both Kavanaugh and Ford testified before Congress about the alleged incident that Ford said happened when they were both in high school. Harris assured Ford that was wasn’t on trial during the intense questioning. Harris’ history as a prosecutor made for a viral video of her questioning Kavanaugh.
Over the past several months, Harris supported Biden and he did nothing to discourage speculation about her joining the ticket.
She participated during July in virtual roundtables with North Carolina officials discussing Biden’s economic recovery proposal to help caregivers and with Minnesota officials chatting about his infrastructure plans. Harris joined the candidate’s wife Jill in June to discuss healthcare with Wisconsin officials.
In early March, Harris endorsed Biden 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.”
Biden didn’t squelch 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 in April after she introduced him. “I’m coming for you, kid.”
Harris in May emerged as an early 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.”
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