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Joe Biden needs his Joe Biden. Here’s a look at the women who could be on his vice presidential shortlist

2020-04-15 17:34:21

WASHINGTON – Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is looking for his Joe Biden. 

After Sen. Bernie Sanders’ exit from the race, the former vice president will soon begin the process of selecting a running mate as the Democratic primary nears its end. Biden noted he hopes to have an operation to “run the background checks” in place by the second or third week of this month. 

Last month during a CNN debate, Biden committed to having a woman as his potential vice president. During an interview on “The View” on March 24, Biden said he had a short list of “12 to 15 women who I think would be qualified to be president tomorrow.”

“But I think we’re gonna narrow the list down to about 11,” he said.

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. 

Biden has openly talked about other candidates he’s considering, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and said he sought advice on the decision from former President Barack Obama.

During a virtual fundraiser April 8, 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.

More: Joe Biden tops Bernie Sanders to capture Wisconsin’s Democratic presidential primary

“And so I’m going to need a woman vice president who has the capacity, has strengths where I have weaknesses,” he said. Biden has noted he is looking for vice presidential candidate with whom he can be “simpatico.” 

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.

Stacey Abrams lost her bid to become Georgia's governor.Stacey Abrams lost her bid to become Georgia's governor.
Stacey Abrams lost her bid to become Georgia’s governor.

Stacey Abrams

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.

Democrat Tammy Baldwin is a senator of Wisconsin, a state Democrats need in November.Democrat Tammy Baldwin is a senator of Wisconsin, a state Democrats need in November.
Democrat Tammy Baldwin is a senator of Wisconsin, a state Democrats need in November.

Tammy Baldwin

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.

Tuesday, 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 endorsed Biden Wednesday.

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. 

Val Demings was a police chief in Orlando before she represented Florida in Congress.Val Demings was a police chief in Orlando before she represented Florida in Congress.
Val Demings was a police chief in Orlando before she represented Florida in Congress.

Val Demings

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.

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.” 

More: Bernie Sanders officially endorses Joe Biden for president

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., served in Iraq and received the Purple Heart.Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., served in Iraq and received the Purple Heart.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., served in Iraq and received the Purple Heart.

Tammy Duckworth 

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. 

Kamala Harris had some harsh exchanges with Joe Biden during the debates, but she might have a place in his campaign.Kamala Harris had some harsh exchanges with Joe Biden during the debates, but she might have a place in his campaign.
Kamala Harris had some harsh exchanges with Joe Biden during the debates, but she might have a place in his campaign.

Kamala Harris

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.”

He 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.

More: Former Senate staffer accuses Joe Biden of sexual assault

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham comes from a political family.New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham comes from a political family.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham comes from a political family.

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.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says, "No one knows better about being vice president than Joe Biden.”Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says, "No one knows better about being vice president than Joe Biden.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says, “No one knows better about being vice president than Joe Biden.”

Amy Klobuchar 

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, but last month, she told “The View” she had not talked to him about being a running mate.

“There are great women throughout this country, and no one knows better about being vice president than Joe Biden,” she said.

Klobuchar was the county attorney for Hennepin County, the most populous country in Minnesota, before being elected to the Senate in 2006.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., could help Joe Biden win Hispanics' support.Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., could help Joe Biden win Hispanics' support.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., could help Joe Biden win Hispanics’ support.

Catherine Cortez Masto

Biden reportedly said the senator from Nevada is in his “top 3” as a running mate.

According to Mediate, Biden 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 help Biden garner support with Latino voters. She was first elected to the Senate in 2016. Before that, she was the Nevada attorney general.

If chosen, Cortez Masto would be the first Latina on a major party’s presidential ticket.

Poll: Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 8 points

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was the top pick for a running mate in a poll.Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was the top pick for a running mate in a poll.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was the top pick for a running mate in a poll.

Elizabeth Warren

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. 

Warren was the top pick among voters as a possible running mate in an Economist/YouGov Poll March 25.

Twenty-seven percent of Democratic voters said they would like to see Warren as a vice presidential candidate. The next closest contender was Harris at 18%.

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.

Joe Biden saluted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the way she handled coronavirus in Michigan.Joe Biden saluted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the way she handled coronavirus in Michigan.
Joe Biden saluted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the way she handled coronavirus in Michigan.

Gretchen Whitmer

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.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2020 election: Biden running mate not picked, but speculation swirls

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