WASHINGTON – As Joe Biden nears the announcement of his vice presidential pick, the main contenders and their supporters are making final appeals.
The campaign has not finalized a date to nominate a vice presidential candidate, but three people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans said a public announcement likely wouldn’t happen until the week August 10. hold their convention to officially nominate Biden as their presidential candidate.
Biden said in May he hoped to name his pick around August 1 and told reporters this week he “would have the pick the first week of August.” He notably stopped before saying when he would announce this choice.
Companions are often announced on the eve of a convention. As Biden prepares to make his choice, a committee set up to examine possible running mates has provided him with briefing material. Biden will likely begin one-on-one conversations with those under consideration soon, which could be the most important part of the process for a presidential candidate who values personal relationships.
Top contenders include California Senator Kamala Harris, California Representative Karen Bass and Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Deliberations remain fluid, however, and the campaign has reviewed nearly a dozen possible roommates.
“For Joe Biden, this is the critical moment. After all the checking, all the investigation of potential candidates, it’s now up to Joe. It’s personal, ”said former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was named vice president in 2008.“ Now it comes down to his instincts. “
Representatives for Biden declined to comment for this story.
Selection is the most important choice Biden has faced in his nearly five-decade political career. He has pledged to select a woman and faces calls to choose the first black woman to compete on a presidential ticket.
More than 60 black clergy leaders called on Biden in an open letter on Friday to choose a black woman as his running mate, saying the United States faces a “moment of racial judgment” that cannot be ignored.
“The stakes are too high for our community and we believe that having a black woman running for vice-president is the clearest path to victory in November that our country needs to move forward,” said Rev. Matthew Watley of Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, who signed the letter.
Given the historical significance of the moment, some are urging Biden not to leave the announcement for too long.
“I have a feeling that the vice president himself, having gone through this process, is aware and aware of not letting people hang around too long,” Democratic strategist Karen Finney said. “There certainly seems to be a bit of media frenzy, and I think we need to be aware that at some point it becomes unfair to the candidates being considered. “
As a decision looms, the camps compete for their position.
Harris ‘allies rallied this week after Politico reported that the co-chair of the audit committee, former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, was concerned about Harris’ difficult performance on the debate stage and that she failed had not expressed regret.
Several California elected officials and labor leaders have appealed with the audit team to point out that Harris has strong support among labor and political leaders in his home state. The appeal was hosted by Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and included the mayors of Oakland, Long Beach and Stockton and former Governor Gray Davis.
“A group of us really felt like we needed to organize, talk and fix the record because she has such tremendous support,” Kounalakis said.
As well as highlighting their strong relationship with Harris, they also rebuffed the idea that Harris would not be a loyal partner, a sentiment echoed by a number of prominent donors.
“It is frustrating to hear that a small group of former party members are trying to have a negative impact on the selection of Senator Harris,” said Michael Kempner, a leading New York-based Democratic donor. “This handful of former leaders no longer speak for the vast majority of Democrats and often confuse their personal interests with what is best for the party and the nation. By all objective standards, Kamala Harris should be the favorite for the job. “
Harris, though not speaking directly to her vice presidential prospects, told a group of young black women on Friday that it is common for black women to meet resistance when exercising their power.
“There will be resistance to your ambition. There will be people who tell you, ‘You are out of your way,’ ”she said at the digital summit. “They are overwhelmed that they only have the ability to see what has always been instead of what can be. … I have lived this experience all my career.
Biden requested comment on his choice from former President Barack Obama, who provided advice but insisted the choice was his, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversations.
Biden’s allies say his wife, Jill, and sister, Valerie Biden Owens, will likely play a key role in the decision, as they have with many of Biden’s biggest political decisions throughout his career. Jill has hosted online campaign events and fundraisers with virtually every potential candidate over the past few weeks, as has Biden himself, giving candidates a trial opportunity with the alleged Democratic candidate.
On Thursday night, Bass joined Biden for a virtual fundraiser that grossed $ 2.2 million. It has also taken steps to strengthen its national profile, including providing interviews to several outlets over the past week.
On Friday night, Biden hosted a virtual fundraiser with Elizabeth Warren, who was also considered a running mate. Biden said the event raised more than $ 1.7 million from more than 50,000 grassroots donors. That’s about a quarter of the $ 6 million the Massachusetts senator brought in her first online fundraiser for the former vice president last month that attracted more expensive donors.
“We have known each other for a long time. His fearless work for a just America has transformed lives and inspired millions of people, including me, ”Biden said. “She is something else. You all know her.
Warren said: “This is a time of unprecedented crisis.”
“But I wake up every day with a heart full of hope and here’s why: Vice President Biden is meeting the moment,” she added. The two spoke for almost an hour, but did not mention the vice presidential selection process.
Some Biden donors have already started planning for potential fundraising events ahead of the official announcement. Biden’s team expects his running mate to immediately contribute to his fundraising operation. Among the finalists, Harris is considered the most formidable traditional fundraiser, while Warren’s ability to attract small donations from the progressive base of the party is also seen as a major asset.
Associated Press editors Julie Pace and Will Weissert in Washington, Steve Peoples and Jonathan Lemire in New York, Bill Barrow in Atlanta, and Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, Calif., Contributed to this report.