Next for Kamala Harris? She's Looking Beyond VP

She's a top contender, but attorney general, governor, or longer Senate career also options
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2020 8:57 AM CDT
Kamala Harris Seen as VP Frontrunner
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. What's next?   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Last summer, then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris emerged as Joe Biden's toughest critic in the Democratic primary over his record on race issues. Now, however, Politico reports that the California senator is the favorite to be his running mate. The story says Elizabeth Warren also is in strong contention, but interviews with two dozen Biden aides and Democratic donors suggest that Harris is the top choice at the moment. The Biden campaign has begun formally vetting the first large group of contenders. Coverage:

  • Repairs: Politico reports that relations between Biden and Harris have warmed since the debates, helped in part by the friendship Harris had years ago with the late Beau Biden, a fellow state attorney general. And the story includes this quote from influential African-American Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina: "Joe Biden is a big boy," he said. "I’ve never seen Joe have any animus toward Kamala for what may have been said during the campaign." Clyburn added that his preference is for Biden to pick a black woman as his running mate.

  • Maybe not VP? The New York Times also has a story out on Harris, and it suggests she's not limiting her options to the VP's office. Harris, who turned down an offer to be attorney general in the Obama administration, would consider the role under Biden, according to the report. But other options are open. Harris "has dedicated the five months since she ended her campaign to housecleaning steps meant to position her better for what comes next: whether it’s a vice-presidential bid, a longer career in the Senate, a run for governor or a position like attorney general in a Biden administration."
  • Low-key: Both stories note that Harris is not openly campaigning to be VP, unlike another contender, Stacey Abrams. Politico calls it the "less-is-more approach to the veepstakes." The Times adds that nor is there a more subtle "surrogate lobbying effort" underway for Harris, as there is for Warren. "Even people close to Mr. Biden—often bombarded with pleas from those vying to be his running mate—have remarked about how little they have heard from Ms. Harris and her allies," per the Times.
  • Biden's Biden: At Bloomberg, Francis Wilkinson makes the case that Harris is the best choice for Biden because she would be to him what he was to Barack Obama, an important balancing factor. Candidate Obama was "a mixed-race intellectual whose father was from Kenya." Biden was "Regular Joe," a veteran of white, establishment politics. Now the situation is flipped. Harris is the daughter of immigrants whose father is Jamaican and mother is Indian. "Harris’s face is the future of the Democratic Party, and of the nation, just as Biden is the face of receding power. She complements and strengthens him. She can be Biden’s Biden."
  • Tara Reade: The woman who has accused Joe Biden of sexual assault told Megyn Kelly that she brought her allegations to the attention of Harris' presidential campaign. "Kamala Harris is my representative, so I tried to reach out to her in particular for help, like I wanted to get a safe place to tell what happened," she told Kelly. But a top adviser to Harris say there is no record of any such contact, reports Axios. Reade also says she took her complaints to the campaign of Warren.
(Read more Kamala Harris stories.)

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