WILMINGTON, Del. (KXAN/AP) — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has chosen his running mate for the 2020 election.
Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick Tuesday afternoon. She’s making history by being the first Black woman selected to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket.
Harris, 55, has been serving as a first-term senator for California since 2017. In choosing her, Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign.
She is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.
Harris’ record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinized during the Democratic primary and turned off some liberals and younger Black voters who saw her as out of step on issues of systemic racism in the legal system and police brutality. She tried to strike a balance on these issues, declaring herself a “progressive prosecutor” who backs law enforcement reforms.
Biden, who spent eight years as President Barack Obama’s vice president, has spent months weighing who would fill that same role in his White House. He pledged in March to select a woman as his vice president, easing frustration among Democrats that the presidential race would center on two white men in their 70s.
Biden’s search was expansive, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leading progressive, Florida Rep. Val Demings, whose impeachment prosecution of Trump won plaudits, California Rep. Karen Bass, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose passionate response to unrest in her city garnered national attention.
A woman has never served as president or vice president in the United States. Two women have been nominated as running mates on major party tickets: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. Their party lost in the general election.
The vice presidential pick carries increased significance this year. If elected, Biden would be 78 when he’s inaugurated in January, the oldest man to ever assume the presidency. He’s spoken of himself as a transitional figure and hasn’t fully committed to seeking a second term in 2024. If he declines to do so, his running mate would likely become a front-runner for the nomination that year.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more details become available.