Kamala Harris VP Joe Biden
Kamala Harris and Joe Biden. Scott Olson/Getty Images


  • After months of speculation, former Vice President Joe Biden tapped Sen. Kamala Harris of California to be his vice-presidential running mate.
  • The 55-year-old former California attorney general will be the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to be nominated by either major party for vice president.
  • Harris was chosen despite some concerns about her widely shared debate moment when she went after Biden over his opposition to federally mandated bussing.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris of California would be his vice-presidential running mate, which will make her the first woman of color on a major party’s presidential ticket.

The selection makes Harris a leading figure in the Democratic Party, with the chance to be a heartbeat away from the presidency and a favorite for the next nomination in 2024 or 2028. She’ll be the fourth woman to ever be nominated by a major party on a presidential ticket.

Harris, 55, was briefly a front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential-primary race but dropped out in December amid lagging enthusiasm and dwindling campaign funds. The former prosecutor notably sparred with Biden during a Democratic debate over his opposition to federally mandated bussing to integrate racially segregated schools earlier in his political career.

Biden, 77, said he was “blindsided” by the attack, especially given Harris’ friendship with his son Beau, but the two later reconciled and were seen being chummy at subsequent campaign events.

This is not the first time Harris has made history in pursuing higher office.

Harris was born in Oakland, California, to parents of Jamaican and Indian descent. She went on to become the first woman and African American person to serve as San Francisco district attorney and later as California attorney general.

She joined the Senate in 2017 after winning the race to succeed longtime Sen. Barbara Boxer, becoming only the second Black woman to serve in the chamber and the first South Asian American elected to the Senate.

Early on in her Senate tenure, Harris became known for her sharp questioning during committee hearings, particularly those featuring Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General William Barr.

Harris performed well early in the Democratic presidential-primary race but struggled later as campaign funds dried up. She dropped out of the race in early December, avoiding any disappointments in the early contests.

The senator endorsed Biden in March, sparking a new round of vice-presidential speculation.

From ‘top cop’ to leader of the anti-Trump ‘resistance’

During her more than two decades as a prosecutor, Harris developed a reputation as a shrewd but cautious “top cop.”

She championed some progressive reforms in California, including instituting a program in San Francisco that offered first-time drug offenders education and work opportunities instead of jail time. But she also defended the state’s death penalty and fought to more harshly punish the parents of chronically truant schoolchildren.

Over the past four years, Harris has emerged as an outspoken, media-savvy voice for the anti-Trump “resistance.” Clips of her grilling former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and CIA Director Gina Haspel on the floor of the Senate were widely shared on social media.

And she’s secured a place alongside some of the most progressive members of her caucus with a voting record that matches other former 2020 contenders, including fellow Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand.

But as a presidential candidate, Harris positioned herself as a more moderate progressive, proposing more incremental policy reforms, including a public option for healthcare, rather than “Medicare for All.”

As reported by Business Insider