Kamala, Warren & More: The Notable Names Joe Biden Has Considered to Be His Running Mate

Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to make his running-mate announcement this week. He's promised to pick a woman and has said the finalists include four Black women. Here's a look back at the candidates who have been in the running.

Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris Say They're Ready to Be Joe Biden's Vice President Pick
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Kamala Harris. Photo: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock; Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock; Alexander Tamargo/Getty
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Sen. Kamala Harris

2018 San Francisco Pride
Sen. Kamala Harris during the San Francisco Pride Parade in 2018. Arun Nevader/Getty

Sen. Kamala Harris dropped out of the 2020 presidential race in December — but soon enough she became a leading contender to join Biden's ticket.

The California lawmaker told MSNBC in April she'd "be honored" to fill the role. Harris, a 55-year-old former prosecutor, is known for being a tough debater and has become a prominent figure in the Senate, pushing lawmakers to address racial inequalities following George Floyd's death and resulting protests.

"She knows the system from inside, and she knows we have to have this whole cultural shift in policing in this country," California Rep. Barbara Lee told NPR. "She's very well-qualified, because of her background, to understand how we have to dismantle many of those systems."

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty

Though she left the presidential race in early March, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren built a strong progressive following throughout her 2020 campaign — with a platform focused on economic and social equality, often saying that she was running for president "because that's what girls do."

NPR reported that progressives within the party have been calling on Biden to pick Warren, 71, as his vice president and when asked by MSNBC in April, Warren simply said "yes," she would accept Biden's offer.

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Sen. Tammy Duckworth

Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth made headlines this month following a public back-and-forth with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, fueling more speculation about her being named Biden's running mate.

Carlson questioned the 52-year-old Iraq War veteran's patriotism, drawing a wave of backlash. After losing both of her legs serving in Iraq, Duckworth became the assistant secretary for the Veteran Affairs office under President Barack Obama before returning to Illinois to run for office. Duckworth, a Thai-American, was elected to Congress in 2012.

Here's what Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, told Duckworth during a virtual campaign event in July, per CNN: "As a veteran, a disability advocate and a woman of color, and the first woman to have a child while serving in the Senate, you inspire so many people across this country, and we are honored to have your support."

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Keisha Lance Bottoms

Keisha Lance Bottoms
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Paras Griffin/Getty Images

While Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' name has come up on Vice President Biden's radar, Bottoms has said she's "continuing to focus on the job that I have before me" in Georgia.

Bottoms has been busy, too, managing her city's novel coronavirus response while simultaneously navigating legal challenges from Gov. Brian Kemp over the city's mandatory mask rules, which Kemp said violate his own orders.

Critics say Bottoms, 50, doesn't have federal governing experience. She feels differently. "When you are leading a major city, you are dealing with a number of issues all at once," Bottoms told NPR this month. "You're dealing with the same issues that we're seeing across this country."

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Stacey Abrams

Election 2018 Georgia Governor, Atlanta, USA - 02 Nov 2018
Stacey Abrams in November 2018. John Bazemore/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Stacey Abrams hasn't been shy about her hope to be named Biden's vice presidential pick: "I would be an excellent running mate," the Georgia politician told Elle earlier this summer.

The former minority leader of the state House, 46, rose to national political fame after very narrowly losing the much-watched 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race to Kemp, in a result she disputed.

Now a voting rights advocate, Abrams said she's "prepared and excited to serve" if Biden chooses her to join the 2020 ticket.

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Rep. Val Demmings

Vice President Candidates
Rep. Val Demings. Getty Images

Rep. Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief who was elected to Congress in 2016, is seen as one of Biden's top potential picks as his vice president.

Demings, 63, worked in the Orlando police department for three decades and told CNN she first became an officer with the hopes of "changing an entity viewed skeptically by Black Americans from the inside."

She said she'd be "honored" to serve with Biden but that she'll "continue to be part of the solution regardless of what happens with Joe Biden's campaign."

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Rep. Karen Bass

Vice President Candidates
Rep. Karen Bass. Getty Images

The New York Times reported in June that California Rep. Karen Bass was on Biden's list of possible running mates.

Bass, a 66-year-old five-term congresswoman, has become a prominent voice on the issue of police reform, leading the Congressional Black Caucus.

"I'm inclined to push the envelope as far as we can because we have a moment now," Bass told CBS in June. While she said it's not "imperative" that Biden pick a Black woman to be his running mate, "it would be energizing and exciting to have an African-American woman on the ticket."

Since her named entered vice-presidential contention, however, Bass has faced scrutiny for her past statements about the Castro regime in Cuba and her work there as well as an appearance at the opening of a Scientology building in 2010.

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Vice President Candidates
Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Getty Images

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin told The View in June that she "certainly would" accept an invitation to join Biden's 2020 ticket.

Baldwin — who, if chosen, would become the first openly gay vice presidential candidate — is a progressive who supports Medicare-for-All and joined the congressional push for police reform in recent months.

"We know that the path to the presidency goes right through the state of Wisconsin," Baldwin, 58, said on The View. "It's always on that list."

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Susan Rice

Vice President Candidates
Former UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Getty Images

Although Susan Rice has never been elected to office, she has years of high-profile policy-making experience. Rice served as the ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama. Her close relationship with Biden, who was Obama's vice president, is seen as a key factor in her being vetted for the vice presidency.

Valerie Jarrett, a top Obama adviser, made the case to ABC News that Biden has "seen her not just in good times, but on really hard days" and that "he trusts her."

Rice's own perspective, according to the Washington Post, is that a vice president should be someone who "can get things done, that understands the executive branch, understands Congress, understands the budget, and has the wherewithal to help drive the hard work that's going to need to be done to tackle the coronavirus, to jump-start the economy, to address the nation's inequities in a fundamental and profound way."

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2018.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has experienced a newfound political celebrity this year after being drawn into the national spotlight by President Trump's criticism of her coronavirus shutdowns.

"The woman in Michigan," according to Trump, has also been one of the potential candidates on Biden's list.

The former prosecutor and lifelong Michigander, 48, told PEOPLE this summer that "when you become governor ... you're governor 24/7," indicating that her focus remains at a state level.

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Vice President Candidates
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Getty Images

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, whose name made the cut for running-mate consideration earlier this year, was the first Democratic Latina woman in the U.S. to be elected governor.

Grisham, now 60, was the former Secretary of Health in New Mexico and, as the head of New Mexico's State Agency on Aging in 1997, she reportedly faked a stroke in order to go undercover and investigate state-run nursing homes.

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who unsuccessfully ran for president this year, removed herself from Biden's shortlist in June following the killing of George Floyd.

She said that the Democratic Party's 2020 ticket should include a Black woman instead.

"After what I've seen in my state and what I've seen across the country, this is a historic moment and America must seize on this moment," the 60-year-old Minnesota lawmaker and former prosecutor told MSNBC. "I truly believe, as I told the vice president last night, that I believe that this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket."

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