Former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to announce his choice for a running mate by August 1.
Biden, who has promised to nominate a woman for the position, made the announcement on Wednesday during a virtual fundraiser with his one-time Democrat rival, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“We’re in the process of deciding the basic cut, about whether or not they really want it. Are they comfortable? They’ve asked a lot of questions,” the former vice president, according to a pool report of the event.
Biden’s announcement of a timeline for a decision comes as his speculation about who will be his running mate has grown. The former vice president, himself, has fed such talk, by first promising earlier this year to nominate a woman, then declaring that whomever he chose would need to be “ready to be president on a moment’s notice.”
Although little is known of other qualifications Biden has in mind for the post, a shortlist has already begun circulating among members of the media and Democrat strategists. Leading the vice presidential sweepstakes at the moment is Biden’s former rival for the Democrat nomination, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The senator, whom Biden’s campaign has confirmed will undergo the vetting process, is considered a potent force among blue collar white voters in her native Midwest.
Such voters were instrumental in President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In that race, white working class voters overwhelmingly backed Trump over Clinton by the largest margin since 1980 (67 percent to 28 percent). Although the numbers of blue collar whites are decreasing nationally, they still remain a sizable population in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan—states that put Trump over the top in the electoral college, despite their voting for Democrats at the presidential level for nearly the past three decades.
Even though it is uncertain if Klobuchar could help Biden win back the demographic nationally, her presence on the ticket would at least help solidify her home state of Minnesota, which many political analysts consider a tossup territory.
Klobuchar, however, is not without her detractors, most notably among black Democrats. More than a few cite the law and order image she burnished as a county prosecutor in Minnesota as proof that her candidacy would turn off segments of the party’s base.
If such concerns take root, as some activists believe, then Biden would likely have to jettison Klobuchar in favor of a more attractive running mate to engage black voters. As such, a number of the former vice president’s high profile allies have begun floating the idea of either Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), another former 2020 rival, or Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), a vocal member of Congressional Black Caucus.
Biden, though, seemed to throw cold water on such suggestions Tuesday during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash.
“Look, I’m not going to get into that now because we haven’t gotten there yet,” the former vice president said when asked if his running mate would be a woman of color. “There are women of color under consideration and there are women from every part of the country under consideration.”
“There’s a lot of really qualified women that are ready to be president, but I’m not making that commitment,” Biden added.