2020 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate selection

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2020 Democratic vice presidential nomination
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  Kamala Harris Vice Presidential Portrait.jpg
Nominee Kamala Harris
Home state California

Previous Vice Presidential nominee

Tim Kaine

Vice Presidential nominee

Kamala Harris

This article lists potential candidates for the Democratic nomination for Vice President of the United States in the 2020 presidential election. Former Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware, the 2020 Democratic nominee for President of the United States, considered several prominent Democrats and other individuals before selecting Senator Kamala Harris of California as his running mate on August 11, 2020. Harris formally won the vice presidential nomination on August 19, 2020, at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The Biden–Harris ticket would go on to win the 2020 election, defeating the incumbent Republican ticket of TrumpPence.

In March 2020, Biden promised to select a woman as his running mate, which marked the third time that the vice presidential nominee of a major party in the United States has been a woman, after Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008.

Harris became the vice president upon inauguration in January 2021 alongside President Joe Biden. She is the first woman to be vice president of the United States, making her the highest-ranking woman in U.S. history, and she is also the first Asian American and African American vice president.[1][2]

Selection process[edit]

At the March 15, 2020 Democratic primary debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Biden committed to selecting a woman as his running mate.[3] At that same debate, Sanders stated that he would likely do the same, but did not pledge to do so.[4] Biden became the presumptive presidential nominee after Sanders dropped out on April 8,[5] though the Democratic ticket would not be officially nominated until the 2020 Democratic National Convention in August 2020. With his pledge, his running mate became the third woman to be the vice presidential nominee of a major party in United States history, following Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008.[6]

Biden indicated that he would make his selection on the basis of shared political beliefs and past experience. He noted that his selection would likely be younger than he is and that he would likely pick someone who is "ready on Day 1 to be president."[7] On April 30, it was announced that the vetting committee would consist of Lisa Blunt Rochester, Chris Dodd, Eric Garcetti, and Cynthia Hogan.[8]


Biden had initially planned to make his announcement regarding his running mate selection "around" August 1.[9] The announcement date was later pushed back to the second week in August.[10][11][12] On August 11, it was reported that Biden had selected his running mate and an announcement was imminent.[13]

Later that day, Kamala Harris was revealed as Biden's vice presidential running mate.[14] Harris was the junior U.S. senator from California, first elected in 2016. She additionally has experience as the Attorney General of California, San Francisco District Attorney, and as a prosecutor. Harris was a candidate in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, before suspending her campaign in December 2019, later endorsing Biden's campaign in March 2020. Harris was the third woman vice presidential running mate of a major party and the first Asian American.[15] Harris additionally is the first Democrat from the Western United States to appear on a presidential ticket; Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, a Western state, but was nominated as a representative of Illinois.[16]

Vetting process[edit]


On August 13, The New York Times reported the four finalists were Kamala Harris, Susan Rice, Elizabeth Warren, and Gretchen Whitmer.[17]


The Biden campaign was reported to have begun the vetting process of potential running mates in May 2020.[23][13] The following officials were reported to have undergone vetting by the Biden campaign.[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] However, following the George Floyd protests, Amy Klobuchar was criticized for her lack of prosecution of police misconduct during her tenure as Hennepin County County Attorney, including a case involving the officer who murdered Floyd.[32][33][34] On June 18, she announced that she had removed herself from consideration and urged for Biden to select a woman of color.[35][36]

On June 12, the Associated Press reported that Keisha Lance Bottoms, Val Demings, Kamala Harris, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Susan Rice, and Elizabeth Warren had advanced to further stages in the vetting process, with the possibility that some other vetted candidates had as well.[37] On June 26, CNN reported that Bottoms, Demings, Harris, and Warren were at that point the leading candidates for the nomination.[38]

On July 29, just a week before Biden's initially planned announcement, The Hill reported that Karen Bass, Harris, Rice, and Warren had emerged as the "top tier" of candidates.[39] On August 2, CNN reported that Tammy Duckworth and Gretchen Whitmer were also still under consideration.[40] On August 10, The New York Times reported that Biden's running mate committee had finished interviewing the possible candidates and that an announcement was "imminent".[41]

In addition to the four finalists, the following individuals were reported to be on Biden's shortlist.

Declined to be considered[edit]

The following individuals publicly confirmed that they had declined to be vetted by the Biden campaign.

Media speculation about other potential running mates[edit]

The following individuals received coverage as potential running mates from multiple news sources, but were not reported to have been asked to undergo vetting by the Biden campaign.

Federal executive branch officials[edit]

Members of Congress[edit]



Other individuals[edit]

Opinion polling[edit]

A Siena College/The New York Times poll released on June 26, 2020 found that over 80% of respondents said that race should not be a factor in Biden's selection.[82]

A Politico/Morning Consult poll released on July 15, 2020, found that 54% of respondents felt that Biden's VP pick will not affect their vote, 16% said it would have a major impact, and 20% said only a minor impact.[83]

Vice presidential polling
Poll source Date(s)
Stacey Abrams
Tammy Baldwin
Karen Bass
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Catherine Cortez Masto
Val Demings
Tammy Duckworth
Kamala Harris
Amy Klobuchar
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Gina Raimondo
Susan Rice
Elizabeth Warren
Gretchen Whitmer
The Economist/YouGov August 2–4, 2020 600 (RV) 6% 1% 1% 3% 3% 8% 22% 0% 11% 21% 3% 3%[c] 19%
Yahoo News/YouGov July 28–30, 2020 1088 (RV) 8% 3% 3% 5% 4% 6% 25% 2% 2% 14% 22% 5%
Hill-HarrisX July 20–21, 2020 947 (RV) 6% 3% 3% 3% 4% 15% 4% 12% 16% 4% 30%[d]
Data for Progress July 20, 2020 538 (RV)[e] 8% 3% 1% 10% 3% 6% 21% 2% 6% 23% 4% 13%
Yahoo! News/YouGov Jun 9–10, 2020 1288 (RV) 14% 6% 8% 24% 14% 30% 5%
Monmouth Jun 1–9, 2020 2240 (LV) 10% 2% 7% 28% 12% 2% 13% 2% 8%[f]
Yahoo! News/YouGov May 4–5, 2020 1224 (RV) 11% 5% 6% 17% 18% 34% 8%
Vox May 1, 2020 605 (V) 7% 3% 15% 9% 42% 4% 20%
CBS/YouGov Apr 28–May 1, 2020 1671 (LV) 14% 1% 2% 3% 3% 19% 13% 1% 4% 36% 3% 1%[g]
Economist/YouGov Apr 26–28, 2020 1222 (RV) 8% 2% 9% 7% 15% 2% 13%[h] 44%
Harvard/Harris Apr 14–16, 2020 2394 (RV) 10% 10% 1% 13% 3% 63%[i]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Individual is a member of the Republican Party
  2. ^ Key:
    A – all adults
    RV – registered voters
    LV – likely voters
    V – unclear
  3. ^ "Someone else" with 3%
  4. ^ Nadja West with 5%; "None of the above / Someone else" with 25%
  5. ^ Poll included only voters not affiliated with a political party.
  6. ^ including Michelle Obama with 3% and Tulsi Gabbard with 1%
  7. ^ Sally Yates with 1%
  8. ^ "Someone else" with 13%
  9. ^ Bernie Sanders with 20%; Andrew Cuomo with 11%; Michael Bloomberg with 8%; Pete Buttigieg with 7%; Tom Steyer with 3%; "Other" with 14%


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