Washington: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden picked Senator Kamala Harris as his choice for vice president, making her the first Black woman on a major-party US presidential ticket.
With social unrest over racial injustice rocking the country for months, Biden had been under increasing pressure to select a Black woman as his running mate. Harris is also the first Asian-American on a major presidential ticket.
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.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020
In Harris, a 55-year-old senator from California who made her own run for the White House, Biden gains an experienced politician already battle-tested by the rigors of the 2020 presidential campaign as they head into the final stretch of the November 3 election.
Biden on Twitter called Harris “a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants.” Harris wrote on Twitter that Biden could “unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us.”
Biden and Harris will appear together today at an event in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the campaign said.
Harris, who became only the second Black female US senator in history when elected in 2016, will be relied on to help mobilise African Americans, 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.
Biden, whose foundering campaign was rescued by Black voters in South Carolina’s primary in February, needs their strong support against Trump. They will be crucial in battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Trump narrowly prevailed in 2016, as well as Republican-leaning southern states like Georgia and Florida that polls show have become competitive this year.
Biden served as vice president for eight years under President Barack Obama, the first Black US president.
Numerous Black leaders, including politicians who had themselves been considered as Biden’s running mate, emphasised the historic import of Harris’ selection.