Just when it seemed like Joe Biden had a strong chance of selecting a Black woman as his running mate, the tides seem to be changing.
According to Politico, Biden’s presidential campaign announced their running-mate selection committee on Thursday, which has the task of vetting the person who will be Biden’s vice president on the Democratic party ticket. Already, the committee isn’t that racially diverse.
The four-member search committee includes Los Angeles Mayor and campaign co-chair Eric Garcetti, Biden’s longtime friend and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, and former White House and Senate counsel Cynthia Hogan. All of these members are white, leaving Delaware congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester as the only Black person on the committee. Biden said he hopes the vetting process will be done by July.
A strong ally in Biden’s corner has been South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, whom The Washington Post said “changed everything” for Biden. His endorsement and support for the former vice president has been linked to Biden’s success in the primaries with the Post writing:
“According to Edison Research exit poll data, 56 percent of South Carolina’s Democratic primary voters were African American, and they overwhelmingly supported Biden, who won 61 percent of their vote. (Sen. Bernie Sanders lagged far behind at 17 percent.) Sixty percent of black voters cited the Clyburn endorsement as an important factor in their decision.”
Despite Clyburn’s strong hand in helping Biden secure the Black vote, now it seems like he’s also switching up on who he’s championing for vice president.
Back in February, Clyburn was urging Biden to pick a Black woman for VP, according to The Hill, mentioning Sen. Kamala Harris and voting rights activist and Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams. He also reportedly mentioned Democratic Reps. Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Val Demings (Fla.) and Karen Bass (Calif.) as potential running mates, along with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
However, in March, when asked by the Financial Times if he thinks Biden will pick Abrams as his running mate, Clyburn said, “I doubt it.” He insinuated that she didn’t have enough experience, saying “There’s something to be said for somebody who has been out there.”
Although in the same interview he advocated for Mayor Bottoms, on Tuesday, Clyburn seemed to be slimming down his hopes of a Black woman vice president even more. “I think having a woman on the ticket is a must,” the No. 3 House Democrat explained in an interview, according to MSN. “I’m among those who feel that it would be great for him to select a woman of color. But that is not a must.”
Of course, nothing is final yet and Biden could very well choose a respected Black woman back by the community as his running mate. However, Biden also hasn’t offered reassuring words this month. Last week, he told KDKA-TV that it’s “very important that my administration look like the nation,” but he reiterated that his pledge to pick a Black woman for the Supreme Court “doesn’t mean there won’t be a vice president as well.”
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