Joe Biden has selected Kamala Harris as the Democratic nominee for vice president.
The freshman U.S. Senator from California becomes the fourth woman – and first woman of color — to run on a major party ticket in a national election.
“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked Kamala Harris — — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden said in a tweet this morning.
Harris is also the first Asian-American candidate for the vice presidency. Her mother emigrated from India in 1960 and her father, who is Black, emigrated from Jamaica in 1961.
Biden and Harris will face incumbents Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
“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,” Biden said. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”
Former President Barack Obama praised Biden’s pick in a statement.
“Joe Biden has nailed this decision. By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president. They’re requirements of the job,” Obama said. “And now Joe has an idea partner to help him tackle the very real challengers America faces right now and in the years ahead.”
Harris, 55, had sought the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Trump but withdrew in December 2019.
As a presidential candidate, Harris raised $139,422 from New Jersey donors. She largely stayed out of New Jersey while her Senate colleague, Cory Booker, was also seeking the Democratic nomination.
In her 2016 U.S. Senate race, Harris brought in $160,886 from New Jersey donors.
Harris had her first job in politics in the 1980s when she interned in the office of U.S. Senator Alan Cranston (D-California) while attending Howard University.
She began her public service career as a prosecutor, serving as San Francisco District Attorney and as Attorney General of California. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 following the retirement of Barbara Boxer.
Harris is the first woman to become the Democratic vice presidential candidate since Walter Mondale picked Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D-New York) in 1984. John McCain put Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on his ticket in 2008, and Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton for president four years ago.
Democrats have not run an all-male, all-white ticket since 2004, when John Kerry and John Edwards lost to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
“It can certainly be said that Kamala Harris was Joe Biden’ safe choice,” said Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. “At this moment in America, that may be precisely what voters need to see when they glimpse into his decision-making.”
Veteran Democratic insider Jeffrey Laurenti said that Harris is a smart and experienced prosecutor.
“She’ll eat up plodding Mike Pence in the VP debate,” he said on Twitter.