5. Karen Bass: It’s uniquely possible that had Biden made the pick 10 days ago, this California congresswoman (and former speaker of the California Assembly) would have been the choice.
4. Tammy Duckworth: The Illinois senator’s personal story is the sort of thing that would appeal across the political aisle if she is the pick.
A helicopter pilot in Iraq, she was shot down and lost both of her legs. She was awarded a Purple Heart for her service.
Duckworth’s second career is politics, having held a House and now Senate seat in Illinois. In addition to her incredible story and her Midwestern roots, she would also be a history-making pick as the first Asian-American woman on a national ticket.
The downside of picking Duckworth? She’s less tested under the very bright national lights than some of the other candidates on this final list.
3. Gretchen Whitmer: At the start of this whole process, the Michigan governor was at (or near) the top of everyone’s list — including mine. A series of struggles in dealing with coronavirus in her state (most self-inflicted) dropped her off the radar.
Whitmer is obviously appealing for a few reasons: She’s a governor elected in a Midwestern state, she has a similar pragmatic approach to politics as Biden does and, at 48 years old, represents a next generation Democratic leader.
I have been loudly skeptical that, in this climate, Biden picks a white woman as his VP. I am still in that camp, but if he does, it appears Whitmer will be the choice.
2. Susan Rice: The more Biden looks like a winner, the higher the former UN ambassador in the Obama Administration rises.
There’s been ample reporting that Biden is looking for someone who he can have the sort of close relationship that he and President Barack Obama had. Rice is, without question, the one person on this list with whom Biden is personally close.
She also makes a ton of sense when you consider that, at the heart of Biden’s campaign message, is a promise to restore America’s standing in the country and world then Rice is a perfect fit.
1. Kamala Harris: I’ve been doing these rankings every week for the last four months. And every single time the California senator has been the top of the charts.
Why? Simple. She has the best combination of skills: She’s a charismatic candidate and debater who has been vetted on the national stage and would be a historic pick as the first African American and Indian American candidate on a national ticket.
But net it all out, and Harris still makes the most sense for Biden.