Biden selects Kamala Harris as running mate

What You Need To Know: Kamala Harris

Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday selected U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in his quest to unseat President Donald Trump.

Harris, 55, is the third woman to be named as a vice-presidential candidate for a major political party, the first Black woman and first person of Asian descent. She follows Geraldine Ferraro, who was chosen as Walter Mondale’s Democratic running mate in 1984; and Sarah Palin, who was named by John McCain as the Republican vice-presidential pick in 2008.

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“I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person,” Biden wrote in an email to supporters Tuesday afternoon.

Biden’s campaign announced that Biden and the junior senator from California will appear together and give remarks Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware. The time of the event has not been announced.

In a tweet, Harris said Biden can unify the American people.

“I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief,” Harris tweeted.

Susan Rice, a former national security adviser under President Barack Obama and one of the serious contenders for the No. 2 spot, congratulated Harris in a statement.

“I warmly congratulate Senator Kamala Harris on her selection as Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential running mate,” Rice said. “Senator Harris is a tenacious and trailblazing leader who will make a great partner on the campaign trail. I am confident that Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who met with Biden over the weekend, tweeted she was “extraordinarily proud” to support the candidates.

“They will be a fierce team to Build America Back Better,” Whitmer tweeted.

Rep. Stacey Abrams also lauded Biden’s choice, tweeting she was “thrilled to support” Harris as the vice-presidential candidate.

“It’s overdue. It’s tremendous,” Angela Rye, a Democratic political strategist and former executive director for the Congressional Black Caucus, told the Los Angeles Times. “Kamala is not a stranger to making history so it’s poetic justice that she’d be making history here.”

Harris was halfway into her first term as U.S. senator when she jumped into the Democratic presidential campaign, riding into the campaign after her high-profile prosecutorial interrogations of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings, the Times reported.

Harris was a top tier candidate during the debates. She went after Biden in the first debate when the former vice president spoke of his collegiality with segregationist senators and his work to thwart busing to racially integrate schools, the Times reported.

“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” Harris said, directing her gaze at Biden. “And that little girl was me.”

Nevertheless, Harris endorsed Biden in March after she dropped out of the presidential race.

In a statement, former President Barack Obama said Harris was “more than prepared for the job.”

“She’s spent her career defending the Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake,” Obama tweeted. “This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing.”

As a vice presidential candidate, Harris will debate current Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City.

Harris studied political science and economics at Howard University, a historically black university. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986 and got her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Harris was born in Oakland, California, the daughter of Donald Harris, a Stanford University economics professor who immigrated from Jamaica, and Kamala Gopalan Harris, who was a cancer scientist and the daughter of an Indian diplomat. She has a sister named Maya who is a public policy advocate.

Joe Biden announced that U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris will be his running mate.
Joe Biden announced that U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris will be his running mate. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

From 2004 to 2011, Harris was the 27th district attorney of San Francisco. She made history in 2010 when she was elected attorney general of California, becoming the first female and first African-American to have the position. She ran again in 2014 and was re-elected.

Harris married Doug Emhoff, a lawyer, in 2014. On Tuesday, Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, tweeted “Are you ready?” to Emhoff.

Trump also reacted to the announcement, tweeting a video that painted the candidates as “Slow Joe” and “Phony Kamala.”

“Perfect together. Wrong for America,” the video ended.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said in a statement that the selection of Harris is “a defining moment” in America history.

“This moment is long overdue. For far too long, we have undervalued Black women’s political power and their role in shaping our culture, communities, and country,” Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, said in the statement.

Original report: CNN and other media outlets earlier reported that the pick has been made, but the person has not been officially named.

The New York Times reported via Twitter that there is no official announcement event scheduled for Tuesday.

While the decision could be announced or even leaked Tuesday, Democratic watchers believe that the announcement could come either Wednesday or Thursday, The New York Times reported.

Biden told his supporters that he has interviewed all the finalists, The Associated Press and The New York Times reported.

Earlier this year, Biden vowed to name a woman as his running mate. On the shortlist were Sen. and former opponent Sen. Kamala Harris. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and former national security advisor Susan Rice.

No matter which woman he chooses, it will only be the third time in history that a woman has been chosen on a major party ticket and potentially the first time a Black woman was been named as a vice presidential candidate, the AP reported.

New York Magazine reported those who were in the running have been told of their status.

The AP reported that the strategy to make the announcement and the staff is in place to welcome Biden’s running mate to the team.

He has said he wanted to have someone that he has a connection with that could work closely on the governing of the country, the Times reported.

Biden and whoever he has selected will formally accept the party's nomination next week during the Democratic National Convention, CNN reported.

The convention will be held virtually, instead of its original location of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The convention will be covered in prime time on most television networks from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT for four nights, CNN reported.

Speakers include:

  • Former President Barack Obama
  • Former first lady Michelle Obama
  • Former President Bill Clinton
  • Former Democratic presidential nominee and former first lady, Hillary Clinton
  • Former presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The convention will be themed to “Uniting America” and will try to cement that Biden is the person to lead the country through trying times. Each night will have its own theme of “We the People,” “Leadership Matters,” “A More Perfect Union” and “America’s Promise.”