Washington: Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday announced Senator Kamala Harris of California as his choice for vice president, his campaign told supporters in a text message.
Indian American Harris, 55, becomes the first black woman on a major presidential ticket in U.S. history. She was born to an Indian mother (Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher) from Chennai and Jamaican father.
Harris, who unsuccessfully ran for Democratic nomination for President, is considered a charismatic leader and capable of providing Biden with a partner well suited to go on the attack against Republican President Donald Trump.
“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,” Biden said on Twitter.
With social unrest over racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans rocking the country for months, Biden had been under increasing pressure to select a woman of color as his running mate.
In Harris, Biden gains a deeply experienced politician already battle-tested by the rigors of the 2020 presidential campaign as they head into the final stretch of the Nov. 3 election.
Harris, who became only the Senate’s second Black woman in its history when she was elected in 2016, will be relied on to help drive the African-American vote – the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituency. Four years ago, the first dip in Black voter turnout in 20 years contributed to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s upset loss to Trump.
Harris, 55, a former prosecutor and state attorney general in California, is well known for her sometimes aggressive questioning style in the Senate, most notably of Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
As a presidential candidate, she also took Biden to task in a nationally televised debate over his past stances on mandatory busing for students as a means to desegregate schools.
The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden, who will turn 78 in November and be the oldest person to become president if he is elected.
Biden’s age also has led to broad speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024. Some of his allies were concerned that would make her a bad fit for the No.2 job and questioned her loyalty.
Harris will be confirmed as Biden’s running mate at the Democratic convention that begins coming Monday, where Biden will also be formally nominated to challenge Trump.