Biden names Kamala Harris as VP choice

California senator was a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination before falling from the first tier and dropping out of the race in December 2019, before the first votes were cast.

Updated: August 11, 2020 - 7:06pm

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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has selected former presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his 2020 running mate.

"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," the candidate tweeted. "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."

Former President Barack Obama praised his former vice president's running mate selection: "Joe Biden nailed this decision," Obama wrote.

Harris was long rumored to be the front runner for Biden's vice presidential nod, despite some friction between the two of them that flared in Democratic debates during the race for the party's 2020 presidential nomination.

Harris became San Francisco's top prosecutor — district attorney — in 2003, and was then elected as California's attorney general. She was the first woman and first African-American to hold that position. In 2017, she became California's junior senator, claiming the seat vacated by Barbara Boxer.

After becoming a senator, Harris gained public attention for her insistent questioning of Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing to serve on the Supreme Court. She displayed a similar style of questioning during the Senate confirmation hearing for current Attorney General William Barr.

Despite intense early excitement surrounding the Harris presidential run, including launching her campaign to a crowd of more than 20,000 people in California, the senator, who had not yet completed even half a term in office, floundered during her national campaign.

Her early debate performances were strong, especially her attacks aimed at now-running mate Joe Biden. But she failed to find the sweet spot between the progressive and moderate wings of the party, particularly as progressive Democrats pivoted away from candidates with a background in law enforcement. "Kamala is a cop" became a frequently employed refrain during the primary battle.

In March, Harris endorsed Biden, saying she would do "everything in my power to help elect him the next president of the United States." She has since campaigned with Jill and Joe Biden, which evidently did not go unnoticed by the Biden camp.

The former vice president's campaign is now hoping that Harris's progressive leanings coupled with her history in law enforcement will win over moderate Democrats as well as independent voters.

Harris was born in Oakland, Calif., where she was raised by her mother, until moving to Canada prior to attending college at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She received her law degree from the University of California's Hastings college in San Francisco. She will be the first black woman nominated for the vice presidential slot by a major party.

Recently, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown suggested that Harris should "politely decline" the vice presidential offer and hold out instead for the position of U.S. Attorney General.

Last year, Brown wrote that he and Harris "dated" during the early days of her political career in California. He said that as Speaker of the California Assembly he bolstered the young politician's career by appointing her to several positions and aiding her in her first political race.

 

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