Global Biden Picks Sen. Kamala Harris As Running Mate

Biden Picks Sen. Kamala Harris As Running Mate

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  • The California Senator and former prosecutor is Biden’s pick for vice president.
  • Harris is widely seen as the future of the Democratic Party
  • Member of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees
  • Leadership on issues including police reform and immigration policy.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has officially chosen California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.

Harris, who ran for the presidency herself, is a historic choice: She’s the first Black woman and the first Asian American woman to be a major-party nominee for the vice presidency. Among the candidates favored by Democratic voters in recent polls, Harris brings extensive governing experience to the position, though aspects of her record have long prompted progressive criticism.

Harris has been in public service for decades; she was elected to the Senate in 2016 and served as the state’s attorney general and San Francisco’s district attorney before that. A former candidate in the Democratic primary, she’s known as a charismatic campaigner. And she and Biden are somewhat close ideologically: Both staked out more moderate positions during the party’s presidential contest.

Harris’s nomination, which followed a lengthy vetting process, sends a message about the future of the Democratic Party — and its commitment to women and Black Americans.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden wrote in a series of tweets on Tuesday. “Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

Harris’s profile has risen substantially since her election to the Senate: She’s known for her pointed — often viral — questioning of Trump administration officials as a member of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees, as well as her leadership on issues including police reform and immigration policy.

Her run in the primary began with yet another viral moment — an electric confrontation of Biden over busing and school segregation at a Democratic debate last June — though her candidacy ultimately fizzled in the wake of inconsistent messaging and critiques of her criminal justice record. Now she’s the third woman in US history to hold the vice presidential spot on a major-party ticket (joining Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin). If Biden wins, she’d be the first woman ever to hold that office.

Sen. Kamala Harris at the Capitol building on January 29.
 Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Image

As Biden’s running mate, Harris is poised to be a powerhouse campaigner and an important influence on racial and economic justice policies, two issues she focused on extensively in her own campaign. She’ll likely have to navigate outstanding questions about her record, too, as the campaign seeks to unite and energize Democrats to defeat President Trump in November.

Harris is widely seen as the future of the Democratic Party — though her record has prompted pushback

Harris’s selection as VP is a statement about the future of the Democratic Party. Biden had already pledged during the primary that he would choose a woman as his vice president, signaling the importance of women voters to the party. Then, as uprisings in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of police took place across the country this summer, Biden was under enormous pressure to pick a Black woman as his running mate. Harris quickly rose to the top of the list.

As the first Black woman selected to become a major-party VP nominee, she brings a new perspective to a role that’s often been held by older, white men.

“I feel seen and heard,” Howard University political science professor Keneshia Grant told Vox. “I think the choice of Sen. Harris is important to signal that Vice President Biden is committed to an administration that will commit to doing real, substantive work on the problems we face” with policing and racial inequities.

Harris’s public service record, which includes four years in the Senate, six years as California attorney general, and two terms as the San Francisco district attorney, is seen by some as a key strength. It’s a career Harris began after graduating from Howard University in 1986 and University of California’s Hastings Law School in 1989, and one she’s built on the idea of changing the system from within.

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