AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dallas state Rep. Rafael Anchia first met Sen. Kamala Harris 12 years ago.
“I was just texting Kamala three weeks ago,” said Anchia, a Democrat. “I really can’t even believe she’s the candidate, because she’s always kind of been a friend to me.”
Anchia and Harris both participated in a two-year fellowship with the Aspen Institute, he as a state representative and she as the district attorney from San Francisco.
More than a decade later, Harris is Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate.
“She’s a kind-hearted person. She’s incredibly thoughtful about policy, and people just love her, they connect with her,” Anchia said.
“I could not be more excited for the pick,” he continued.
Harris was criticized during her own presidential campaign, when she was one of Biden’s opponents, for her toughness as a district attorney and attorney general in California.
Despite ongoing debates over policing and criminal justice, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) doesn’t believe Harris’ record will dissuade voters.
“We have to have that balance to seek justice for all, so that everyone feels like they’re getting a just shake but to see that our laws are enforced,” Doggett told KXAN.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa cheered Harris’ selection as the vice-presidential nominee Tuesday.
“Texas Democrats could not be more thrilled to hear that Senator Kamala Harris will be our next Vice President,” Hinojosa said in a statement. “Senator Harris is everything that exemplifies what is great about the Democratic Party: a policy wonk who fights for the people, a leader who is willing to speak truth and stand up to those who seek to do us harm and a warrior for justice who has spent her entire life trying to do what’s right.”
Four of the past five presidential polls show Biden ahead of President Trump in Texas, a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat for president since 1976.
“I don’t know if it’s fair to call it a battleground state, but I think that the eternal optimism of the Democrats is closer to fruition this cycle than its ever been,” said Rebecca Deen, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas at Arlington.