Biden Campaign Update, INSIGHT, July 23, 2020

BGR’s RYAN DALTON, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF STATE AFFAIRS & GOVERNMENT MARKETING, ON BIDEN’S VP SEARCH: In an interview with Joy Reid on Monday evening, Biden confirmed his VP search has zeroed in on four Black women — a search which has taken on unprecedented importance given Biden’s age, speculation about his 2024 plans, and the expanding responsibilities of modern vice presidents. Conventional wisdom is that leading contenders are Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), and former national security adviser Susan E. Rice. There are some indications that Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are still under consideration.

If Biden wins in November, whoever is sworn in as Vice President would immediately become one of the most consequential and powerful vice presidents in history. Why?

  1. Joe Biden will be 78 on January 20th. He has emphasized the importance of having a Vice President who can step into the job at any point. He will be considering all options with an eye to their ability to govern.
  2. He has not yet said whether he would run for re-election in 2024. It is widely believed that he is considering serving as a single-term president and passing the baton to the next generation of Democratic leaders. If the Democratic ticket wins, whoever he chooses as his Vice President will overnight become the leading candidate for the party’s nomination in 2024.
  3. No one understands the demands of the job and the importance of an effective deputy more than Joe Biden. He will rely on his pick to govern with him.

So, through this lens, who appears the strongest?

  • Rep. Val Demings shares much with Biden in her approach to complex and contentious issues. She could serve as a bridge to a new generation of diverse voters and could boost the campaign in Florida — once written off by Dems — where Biden is now surging.
  • Senator Kamala Harris brings her experience in the Senate and as Attorney General (AG), where she worked closely with Beau Biden. The AG factor may create some exposure, but she’s already waged a presidential campaign and was well vetted on issues. Her personal relationship with the Bidens is definitely a plus.
  • Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice offers foreign policy depth and experience but Biden doesn’t necessarily need that depth as former Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rice is a relative unknown outside of political and foreign policy circles, but is well known to – and admired by – Biden and all of his closest advisors.

Biden should make the announcement in the next few weeks. Until then, rumors will continue to swirl.