Kamala Harris chosen as Democrats 2020 election running mate

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Joe Biden has selected California senator and former state attorney general Kamala Harris as his running mate, the first black woman to run as vice president on a major political party’s ticket.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to face Donald Trump has described her as a “fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants”.

He pointed to her close working relationship with his son Beau Biden, who served two terms as Delaware’s attorney general before his death following a brain cancer diagnosis in 2015.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” the former vice president said. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

Senator Harris, who suspended a presidential campaign among a host of contenders vying for the party’s nomination in 2019, is expected to speak alongside Mr Biden from Delaware on Wednesday to discuss “working together to restore the soul of the nation and fight for working families to move the country forward”, according to a campaign announcement.

Senator Harris’s selection follows a heavily scrutinised search among several women on the vice presidential shortlist, including former national security adviser Susan Rice, California congresswoman Karen Bass and former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams, as the campaign was pressed to nominate a black woman as the candidate’s running mate.

If elected, vice president-elect Harris would be the nation’s first woman and first black and first Asian American person in the role, alongside the nation’s oldest president-elect, and another historic achievement in her milestone-making career.

“You make a lot of important decisions as president,” candidate Biden wrote in an email to supporters. ”But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President. I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.”

In a statement, the senator said: “Joe Biden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honoured to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.

The Democratic National Committee’s nominating convention begins on 17 August.

On the campaign trail, the senator was a fierce rival against a then-struggling former vice president, criticised for his opposition to mandatory school busing efforts to desegregate schools.

Following her withdrawal from that race, she has emerged as one of the most prominent sitting officials backing the Biden campaign, as the race became immersed in several American crises – racial justice, calls for criminal justice reform and rising inequality – central to the senator’s time in office.

While she has led congressional efforts to condemn police abuse in the wake of killings of black Americans and widespread Black Lives Matter demonstrations, she struggled to reconcile her “progressive” calls for police reform on the campaign trail against her record of failing to do the same during her terms as a prosecutor and as California’s top cop.

She has cast herself as a “progressive prosecutor” within the criminal justice system, one that she is predicted to help craft from the White House following growing calls for reform.

“I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person,” the former vice president wrote. “I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our nation are suffering. Whether they’ve lost their job, their business, a loved one to this virus … This president says he ‘doesn’t want to be distracted by it.’ He doesn’t understand that taking care of the people of this nation – all the people – isn’t a distraction. It’s the job … Kamala understands that.”

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