Harris, 55, was seen as the frontrunner for the No. 2 spot for the last few months, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25. She also became only the second Black woman ever elected to the Senate in 2016.
“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked Kamala Harris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden wrote on Twitter.
He continued, “Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”
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.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020
Harris and Biden are set to appear together at an event in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday.
Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican American father and Indian American mother, worked her way up as a frontline prosecutor in San Francisco. As district attorney, she pitched herself as “smart on crime,” applying a technocratic approach to traditional tough-on-crime policies. Some of her efforts — especially around punishing truancy — met with criticism from progressives. Her critics argued that she was too cautious in six years as California’s attorney general, and was not a true “progressive” prosecutor.
Her sharp performances on the Senate Judiciary Committee — where her pointed questioning of President Donald Trump’s officials has often gone viral on social media — has made her a national star. She has deep ties to the entertainment industry, thanks to three statewide campaigns in California, and drew heavily on Hollywood dollars during her run for the presidency last year. Though seen as charismatic, she struggled to define herself in a crowded field before dropping out of the race last December.
At the Democratic primary debate on March 15, Biden pledged to select a woman as his running mate. Several other women were considered top contenders for the ticket, including former ambassador Susan Rice, Rep. Karen Bass, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was also in the running early on, but bowed out in June, saying that a woman of color should get the job.
Biden had said he’d choose a running mate based on shared political views. He cited his close relationship with President Barack Obama as a model. His vetting committee included former Sen. Chris Dodd, a former chairman of the Motion Picture Association; L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti; Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester; and Cynthia Hogan, his longtime chief counsel.
Harris will join a campaign that has been radically altered by the coronavirus. The traditional trappings of a presidential bid — a speech to a crowded convention hall, followed by a long bus tour — are off the table in this period of social distancing. Instead, Harris will be called upon to hold virtual fundraising events and cable TV hits from her house.
Harris is the third woman to be the vice presidential nominee of a major party, following Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. She would become the first female vice president if the Democratic ticket wins in November.