Eight months after suspending her presidential campaign on the heels of a Thanksgiving holiday spent in Iowa, Kamala Harris will be on the national ballot for the general election.
Though her campaign did not make it to the first-in-the-nation caucuses this year, the California senator now has a second chance at victory in 2020. Joe Biden, who will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president next week during a virtual convention, announced today Harris is his running mate.
“Joe Biden here. Big news: I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate,” Biden said Tuesday afternoon in a text message to supporters. “Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”
“She simply is the future of this country. The future is female,” said Sue Dvorsky, a former Iowa Democratic Party chair and Harris endorser. “I know that Hillary Clinton broke that glass ceiling so that Harris could go through it. This is the most hopeful feeling I’ve had in the last few months.”
Deidre DeJear, who was Harris’ state chair, expressed her excitement on Twitter.
I just reached a new level of joy…
— Deidre DeJear (@DeidreDeJear) August 11, 2020
The Biden campaign said the pair will appear together on Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware, to talk about “working together to restore the soul of the nation and fight for working families to move the country forward.”
In a tweet announcing his pick, Biden recalled Harris’ working relationship with his late son, Beau.
Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I'm proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020
As a black woman, Bettendorf Rep. Phyllis Thede said she was “very proud” to see a woman of color on the ticket. (Harris’ mother was born in India, her father in Jamaica).
“My journey with her was from the very beginning, and then now I get to see her progress to the top of this ticket,” Thede said. “It’s really, really nice to see that. It sends a good message to all young girls that we can all be successful, we can all get to the top and work hard. I think she would be great at it.”
Speculation has swirled for months over which woman Biden would choose to help him defeat President Donald Trump in November.
Fellow senator Elizabeth Warren also was said to have been on the short-list, as was Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass and Susan Rice, who served as President Obama’s national security adviser.
For Iowans who supported Harris during the Iowa Caucuses, today’s announcement is welcome news.
“What really drew me to Sen. Harris was the fact that out of all the candidates, other than Biden, she had the most qualifications and the most experience, and I really felt that she was, and is, uniquely suited for this moment,” said Meghann Foster of Coralville, the first elected official to endorse Harris during the caucus campaign.
Jokingly referring to herself as a “super fan,” Foster said Harris’ “ability to connect with people” and her experience in state and federal government would serve her well as Biden’s partner in the White House.
If needed, Foster said, “she truly is ready to step into the role of the presidency. She is ready to advise, to serve as a partner to Biden if he is elected.”
Rep. Thede did not know much about Harris before she showed up in Iowa, but once she became involved with the campaign, “I really started to see how I really liked what she was saying.”
Despite the pushback Harris received from some of the more progressive members of her party, due to her career as a prosecutor, Thede felt the criticism was unfair.
“We can question what she said or did, that’s fine. But at the same time, I think, OK, well maybe that wasn’t a good thing back then, here’s the way we look at it now,” Thede said.
Vanessa Phelan, of Des Moines, described Harris as “incredibly warm, incredibly empathetic and very much focused on what’s happening in people’s lives.”
“When she’s saying things like an injustice against one of us is an injustice against all of us, she really believes that down her core,” Phelan said.
By Elizabeth Meyer
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