• Friday, June 14, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as running mate

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

After months of speculations, Joe Biden has named California senator, Kamala Harris, as his running mate, saying that her ties to the African-American community and a “progressive prosecutor” will help propel him to the White House.

Harris, 55, who ran against Biden in the Democratic presidential primaries, becomes the first Black woman and first Asian-American on a major party presidential ticket. Known as an aggressive campaigner, the junior senator from California has won statewide elections in the most populous U.S. state three times. She built her early career as district attorney of San Francisco and later California attorney general.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden tweeted.

The Democratic nominee announced the selection six days ahead of the party’s convention, which begins August 17.

Biden made his decision based on his own eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president. He often said he hoped to choose a running mate with whom he’d be compatible and shares values, even if she came from a very different background than his.

With her history in law enforcement, Harris could help Biden revamp the U.S. criminal-justice system, which has been under intense scrutiny since nationwide protests after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Her tough stance for police reform in recent months, including co-authoring a Senate bill to ban police chokeholds and take other steps, has helped mute criticism from advocates of her own record as a prosecutor.

Harris endorsed Biden on March 8, throwing her support behind his candidacy after sharply criticizing him in the Democratic primaries.

“Joe Biden has to win this election,” Harris said in June. “We have two choices, Joe Biden and Donald Trump. We need to elect Joe Biden.”

Harris and Biden had one of the most memorable debate-stage clashes of the primary, when she confronted him over his opposition in the 1970s to a federal mandate for busing to integrate schools, which put him on the same side as segregationist senators. Biden has said he supported desegregating schools, but not the federal mandate.