Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has narrowed his reported list of vice presidential contenders who will be part of the second round of vetting, with several black women in contention, The Associated Press reported Friday.
Democrats “with knowledge of the process” told the AP that Biden’s search committee has whittled its search down to six serious contenders after the first round of interviews.
The list includes two of Biden’s former opponents in the Democratic primary: Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California. Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, is also on the list.
Florida Rep. Val Demings and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, both of whom are black, are being looked at for the position, along with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The list remains fluid, however, according to insiders, and additional candidates could be asked to submit to the extensive document review process of top contenders.
Biden in March promised to pick a female running mate, but following the death of George Floyd, the former vice president has faced increasing pressure to put a woman of color on the ticket.
When Biden met with community leaders, Rev. Shanika Perry, youth pastor of Bethel AME Church, said that “representation matters” and offered advice for picking a running mate: “Let me go on record and say, we want a black woman. We have qualified black women who are able, who are capable of helping you lead this country.”
But Biden, in an interview with CBS News that aired Tuesday, said that the events of the past two weeks “haven’t” impacted him as he decides whom he’ll name as the party’s vice presidential nominee, “except it’s put a greater focus and urgency on the need to get someone who is totally simpatico with where I am” on matters such as “the systemic things that you want to change.”
Biden has emphasized for two months that he needs to choose a running mate who’s “simpatico with where I am,” pointing to his own strong relationship with President Obama during their eight years steering the country together.
Terry McAuliffe, former Virginia governor and former DNC chairman, told the AP Biden’s choice was likely to be “all about personal chemistry,” adding that it would be “exciting for the party” to have a black woman on the presidential ticket.
On Thursday, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, once thought to be a contender for Biden’s VP spot, said she has “not received any calls” from the Biden campaign about vetting her, but expressed serious interest in the position.
“I have said many times that if called I will answer, but I have not received any calls,” Abrams told Stephen Colbert, who cited CNN analyst April Ryan as saying Abrams was being vetted. “Though I look forward to hearing from whomever April Ryan is speaking to.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revealed last month she had had an “opening conversation” with the Biden campaign, though she’s not reported to be on the shortlist.
“It was just an opening conversation, and it’s not something that I would call a professional, formalized vetting. I am making a little bit of time to stay connected to the campaign,” Whitmer said.