This afternoon, presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced that he has chosen California’s junior United States Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate and vice presidential hopeful.
Harris, a former rival of Biden’s for the presidential nomination, is the first Black woman and the first Asian American woman to be the presumptive vice presidential nominee of a major political party.
She is slated to accept the party’s nomination next week along with Biden during the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which will be a virtual event.
Harris has a long history of political involvement in California. Her first campaign was when she ran for San Francisco District Attorney in 2003. She won with 56% of the vote and became the first African American DA in California.
In 2010, Harris ran for Attorney General of California and won. The election was close and the result wasn’t known until several weeks after Election Day.
Harris was considered as a possible replacement for then United States Attorney General Eric Holder during the last few years Obama administration, but she was not interested in the job. (The position went to Loretta Lynch.)
Harris announced her intention to run for Senate in January of 2015 to replace Senator Barbara Boxer, who had announced she was not seeking re-election.
She ran in the general election against fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez and easily defeated her with over 60% of the vote.
Harris is well known for her tough questioning in Senate committee hearings — most famously with Attorney General Bill Barr and then Supreme Court Justice candidate Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom were flustered by her lines of inquiry.
On January 21st, 2019, Harris announced her campaign for President in front of a massive crowd in Oakland, California.
Her campaign moniker was “Kamala Harris | For The People.”
In the June 27th Democratic presidential debate, Harris went after Joe Biden regarding busing. This brought her campaign publicity and a polling bump.
But her aggressive attacks on Biden irritated many Biden supporters.
Harris’ promising presidential campaign began to fade as the summer wore on, and by fall, the campaign was in an increasingly precarious position.
By December of 2019, Harris was running out of money. She chose to suspend her campaign before a single state had held a nominating contest.
United States Representative James Clyburn, who is credited with having played a major role in saving Biden’s campaign by endorsing him in South Carolina, had previously stated: “I would advise him that we need to have a woman on the ticket, and I prefer an African American woman.” For his part, Biden has said he would be leaning toward picking someone who has run for President.
Harris was the only candidate who met all of those criteria.
As Attorney General of California, Harris worked alongside Joe Biden’s beloved son Beau (who passed away several years ago) on a wide range of issues — a connection that undoubtedly helped her cause as Biden deliberated.
By picking Harris, Biden has demonstrated he’s not one to hold a grudge.
Harris may have given Biden a tough time during the first two debates, but Biden clearly felt comfortable asking her to campaign and govern with him, which says a lot about his character. Donald Trump’s deputy Mike Pence can now look forward to being Harris’ next sparring partner on a debate stage.