Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president for the 2020 election, officially named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate on August 11.
“You make a lot of important decisions as president,” Biden wrote in an email to supporters. “But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President. I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021,”
Harris, Biden’s former primary rival, first made national headlines after a June 2019 Democratic debate in which she criticized Biden’s past stances on busing to desegregate schools. After withdrawing from the presidential race in December 2019 due to a lack of funds, Harris refrained from voicing any outward support for any remaining candidates. She eventually came to endorse Biden in March 2020 following his decisive victory on Super Tuesday, and she has continued to openly stump for the former Vice President since.
“I’m humbled to be joining Joe Biden in the battle to defeat Donald Trump and build a country that lives up to our values of truth, equality, and justice,” Harris wrote in an email on behalf of the Biden campaign.
Biden’s search for a running mate took several months, as he considered many other promising prospects for the position. These included former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, California Rep. Susan Bass, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Harris, 55, will be the third woman to serve as a vice presidential candidate, following Geraldine Ferraro, who ran alongside Walter Mondale in 1984 and Sarah Palin, who ran alongside John McCain in 2008. Harris further makes history as the first African-American woman and the first Asian-American woman to act as a vice presidential running mate.
Aside from her personal experience with a presidential bid, Harris comes equipped with numerous other qualifications. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, Harris served as the District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010 and the Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2016.
Though some progressives have bristled at the former prosecutor’s record, especially on issues surrounding truancy and drug convictions, Harris’ inclusion on the ticket has excited many other voters due to her youth and her racial diversity. This draws contrast to Biden, who has sought to counter claims that he doesn’t represent the “America of today,” especially as the country finds itself embroiled in intense racial division.
On a local level, State Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb was quick to issue her support and enthusiasm for Biden’s decision.
“Sen. Kamala Harris is a fierce watchdog on Capitol Hill and will bring that same fighting spirit to the White House,” Kleeb said. “The Trump administration is leaving behind trails of corruption that will need focus and a steady hand to bring justice to those who’ve torn apart our country. There is simply no better person to stand with Vice President Biden to get the job of the people done.”