Kamala Harris, Democratic senator from California, has been selected as Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate. Biden announced the decision August 11, six days ahead of the Democratic National Convention, set to begin Monday August 17 with a small in-person event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and as a larger virtual event with speakers across the country.
Harris was elected statewide in California twice as the state’s attorney general, then as the replacement for Senator Barbara Boxer in 2016.
“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked Kamala Harris, a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden said on Twitter. “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 and Biden are among the individuals who are scheduled to speak during the four-day Democratic National Convention. Viewers will be able to watch the evening event from home via a variety of television and streaming platforms.
Harris is scheduled to debate Vice President Mike Pence October 7, during the election cycle’s sole vice presidential debate. Though the event is slated to take place at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, it is unclear how the debate will be formatted, given the necessity of social distancing.
Biden’s vice presidential pick has been the subject of intense media scrutiny in recent weeks. Biden stated earlier in the year that he intended to select a woman as his vice presidential running mate, and a handful of politicos were widely considered likely candidates for the role. Those individuals included Susan Rice, the former National Security Advisor in the Obama administration who worked on the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Agreement, though Benghazi baggage could be viewed as an issue for Biden’s campaign.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) was another likely contender who has introduced legislation on topical issues such as police reform and public health, though her national profile was lower than most leading VP contenders. (Shortly before 4:00pm ET, CNN reported that Bass was no longer in the running.) Such was the case with Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), another relatively low-profile politico who has discussed critical topics such as gun control and law enforcement — and previously served as the police chief of Orlando, FL. As for Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, she’s a well-known city leader who has been vocal about police reform and racism, though her brief time in office paled in comparison to several other vice presidential contenders.
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer was another leading contender and had ties to Biden — he endorsed her campaign in 2018 — as well as a similarly moderate ideology. Whitmer has won praise for her role in fighting the coronavirus epidemic, and was recently reported to have flown to Wilmingto Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was also widely viewed as a likely candidate, though selecting her would’ve meant the Democrats would lose a Senate seat: Massachusetts has a Republican governor who would pick a Republican replacement for her seat.
Former Vice President Biden and President Donald Trump are scheduled to participate in three presidential debates leading up to the election. The first is slated for September 29, with subsequent debates October 15 and October 22. The presidential election will take place November 3.