Joe Biden’s 12 Possible Vice President Picks, Unpacked
With decisive victories in the Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Idaho primaries on March 10, former Vice President Joe Biden is positioning himself to be the 2020 Democratic nominee for president. Voters will now look forward to Biden announcing his candidate for vice president. He's already dropped a few hints throughout his campaign.
In November 2019, when a voter asked Biden who he might choose as a running mate, he said he could "think of seven women off the top of my head." He's since doubled down on that remark — going so far as to describe specific people. Here are 12 women who are likely in the running.
The Former Presidential Candidates
Biden could be considering former presidential competitors, who've earned themselves national name recognition with voters: Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, or Amy Klobuchar.
A Democratic operative working to elect the former vice president told Business Insider he'd "be surprised if it wasn't" Harris, who dropped out of the presidential race in December and recently endorsed Biden. "Sen. Harris has the capacity to be anything she wants to be," Biden said in December. "I talked to her yesterday. She's solid. She can be the president one day herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice."
The Washington Post noted that vice presidential picks are often a way to "balance the ticket ideologically and heal a party." Warren represents the more progressive wing of the party. Her selection would push toward the sought-after "unity ticket," but would risk alienating the more moderate voters at the base of Biden's campaign. (A March 5 tweet places doubt on this theory: After she dropped out of the presidential race, Biden tweeted, "We needed her voice in this race, and we need her continued work in the Senate.")
As for Klobuchar, since dropping out of the race March 3, she's endorsed Biden and has been regularly stumping for him. At an event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she told the crowd she "could not think of a better way to end my candidacy … than to join the ticket." A few media outlets reported she may have accidentally slipped up and announced she'd be Biden's VP. After she made the remark, Klobuchar laughed and said, "Kidding."
Analysts are also eyeing a number of congresswomen for the VP slot. According to The New York Times, a Black woman would "[give] the crucial support African-American women have given to the Democrats in recent elections," especially during the 2018 midterms, which flipped the House and brought in the most diverse Congress in history. Ian Russell, a former deputy director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Business Insider that Florida Rep. Val Demings, a former police chief, would be a strong pick. Demings, a House impeachment manager, endorsed Biden on March 5 and addressed the rumors two days later. “I am pretty honored that my name is being mentioned in those circles,” she said. “There are lots of amazing women of color that could rise to the occasion.” One such woman is California Rep. Barbara Lee, a progressive stalwart who, like Warren, could create a unity ticket for Democrats.
Another contender is Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War combat veteran who endorsed Biden on March 2. “Those of us who’ve served this nation in uniform understand just how important it is for the commander in chief to have, not only the depth of experience needed to protect our country, but also the humility to recognize the magnitude of the sacrifices our troops make on their orders,” Duckworth said during her endorsement. Some on Twitter are hoping Biden chooses her in part because, as a wheelchair user, she understands the disability community.
In the fall, Biden also alluded to "the two senators from the state of New Hampshire" as contenders for the position. He was referring to Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, who were the first and second women, respectively, to be elected both governor and senator for their state.
The Government Patriots
At a November 2019 town hall, a reporter asked Biden who he might pick as his vice president. He alluded to two former government officials: first, to the "the former assistant attorney general who got fired," referring to Sally Yates, who President Donald Trump fired in January 2017 after she refused to defend his immigration policy, which barred citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Biden also mentioned "the woman who should have been the governor of Georgia," a reference to Stacey Abrams, who lost the state's gubernatorial race by a narrow margin. Her opponent, now-Governor Brian Kemp, purged more than 1.4 million voters from voter rolls during his tenure as secretary of state from 2012 to 2018. Abrams, who delivered the 2019 Democratic response to the State of the Union address, has since become a figurehead in the fight against voter suppression and founded the organization Fair Fight 2020.
Two newly elected governors, both from swing states, also make our long-list. In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer led the state's first all-female statewide ticket into office in 2018. And in New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham became the country's first Democratic Latina governor when she was elected in 2018. Both names have been floated by political analysts.