On Tuesday afternoon, the campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced that his running mate and vice-presidential pick would be California Senator Kamala Harris, following a drawn-out process vetting several high-profile Democratic leaders and lawmakers. “Joe Biden here,” read a text from the campaign going out to supporters. “Big news: I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate. Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”
The search has been both highly public and quite novel compared to prior years, due to Biden’s pledge during the last primary debate to choose a woman as his running mate. “My administration will look like the country and I commit that I will, in fact, appoint a woman to be vice president,” he said. Harris, a vetted legislator from a safe Democratic state, has largely been the front-runner for the veep nomination, despite her criticism of the former vice-president in the first primary debate last summer. The only Black women in the Senate, Harris worked closely with Biden’s late son, Beau, when she was the Attorney General of California and the younger Biden was Attorney General of Delaware. “Through her friendship with Beau, she got to know Joe Biden,” a fact sheet released by the Biden campaign read. “From hearing about Kamala from Beau, to seeing her fight for others directly, Joe has long been impressed by how tough Kamala is.”
The announcement immediately drew praise from Democrats and criticism from Republicans. Former Democratic candidate and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar congratulated Harris on the “historic moment,” while Susan Rice — the former national security adviser who was also a candidate in the veepstakes — called Harris a “tenacious and trailblazing leader.” On the other side of the aisle, and just moments after the announcement, the Trump campaign published an attack ad claiming that Harris and Biden would “jointly embrace the radical left.”
While Hillary Clinton led the ticket for Democrats in the previous cycle, the last time a female vice-presidential candidate was on the Democratic ballot was in 1984, when Walter Mondale ran alongside former New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro. The last — and first — woman to be selected for the position was Sarah Palin, who was Republican John McCain’s running mate in 2008. Harris is both the first Black and first Asian-American politician nominated by a major party.
A little less than an hour after the announcement was made, President Barack Obama weighed in, commending Biden for the decision and Harris as a politician. “Her own life story is one that I and so many others can see ourselves in, ” the statement read. “A story that says that no matter where you come from, what you look like, how you worship, or who you love, there’s a place for you here. It’s a fundamentally American perspective, one that’s led us out of the hardest times before. And it’s a perspective we can all rally behind right now.”
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.