Below is our list of the 11 most logical picks for Biden’s vice president, ranked. As a reminder, Biden has already said he would pick a woman, which narrows the list of possibilities.
11. Karen Bass: We just learned the California congresswoman is being vetted by the Biden campaign. And that makes sense: Not only is she the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, but she’s a former speaker of the California State Assembly — the first black woman to hold such a role in any state. She won’t add anything to the ticket in terms of regional appeal or youth (she’s 66), but if Biden is looking for a governing partner, as Barack Obama did 12 years ago with him, Bass makes a lot of sense. Just as notably, she has a long political history that includes pushing for police reforms as far back as the 1970s. (Previous ranking: N/A)
10. Tammy Duckworth: The senator from Illinois, Iraq War veteran and double-amputee made her case as Biden’s running mate in a New York Times story Thursday: “I can push back against Trump in a way others can’t,” Duckworth said. She added: “I can say, ‘Listen, that American flag is the same flag that would drape my father’s coffin, my coffin, my husband’s coffin and my brother’s.’ It has draped them for generations. No one respects that flag more than I have. But I will respect the right to protest it, too.” (Previous ranking: 9)
9. Stacey Abrams: Nobody has been as bold in their lobbying for the job as the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate. But her name seems to have faded. Abrams even said a couple of weeks ago that the Biden campaign had not reached out to her. “I have said many times that if called, I will answer, but I have not received any calls,” she told Stephen Colbert. (Previous ranking: 8)
8. Tammy Baldwin: The senator from Wisconsin on Thursday became the latest contender to be upfront about her intentions. “If he were to ask me to be his running mate, I certainly would,” she told ABC’s “The View.” In the same interview, she addressed whether Biden should pick a racially diverse candidate — which she isn’t, although she would be the first gay candidate on a major national ticket — and she suggested that other things could come into play. “If he chooses a woman of color, I think that there are such exceptional candidates that he’s interviewing and vetting,” she said. “But I have to respect that Joe Biden has his own process and his own things that he’s evaluating.” She added: “I’ve got to suspect he’s looking into the very strong relationship he had with President Obama when he served as vice president, and he’s certainly weighing all sorts of factors, and I have to respect that he has his own process.” (Previous ranking: 4)
7. Michelle Lujan Grisham: The New Mexico governor may be the least-known — at least nationally — politician on this list. But she’s the only Latina, and she’s reportedly being vetted by the Biden campaign. It also bears noting that while Biden has done well in polls of black voters and leads Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance pretty much across the board, perhaps the one key area in which he appears to lag her slightly is among Hispanic voters. (Previous ranking: 11)
6. Gretchen Whitmer: The Michigan governor’s name has fallen down this list in recent weeks, but it remains true that if the aim is to target voters in the Midwest — and particularly in a key Midwestern state — there may be nobody better. The lack of diversity in this pick would be the most obvious drawback. (Previous ranking: 3)
5. Susan E. Rice: Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman this week made the case for Rice, writing that Obama’s former national security adviser would be the ideal governing pick for an aged Democratic nominee. “Her background is a crucial asset in the area where a president has the greatest power, and where deep knowledge is the best safeguard against catastrophe,” Chapman wrote. “Rice would not need an education in dealing with Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, Israel or our NATO allies. She’s not only better equipped in foreign and defense affairs than the other vice presidential prospects; she’s better equipped than any president since Richard Nixon.” (Previous ranking: 10)
4. Keisha Lance Bottoms: The Atlanta mayor was the newcomer in our past rankings, given her handling of the Black Lives Matter protests in her city. Since then, she has presided over the resignation of Atlanta’s police chief in the aftermath of the killing of Rayshard Brooks by police. Bottoms was recently named to head the Democratic National Convention’s platform committee — a role that, while big, may perhaps suggest an alternate role. (Previous ranking: 7)
3. Val Demings: I’ve been somewhat skeptical about Demings’s chances — owing to a capable but not overwhelming turn as one of the House Democrats’ impeachment managers. But at a hearing this week, she elicited one of the most newsworthy exchanges, getting former Republican attorney general Michael Mukasey to acknowledge that “maybe” Trump had injected politics into the legal cases of his allies. The Florida congresswoman is reportedly an increasingly intriguing pick for the Biden team. The prosecutor pasts of Klobuchar and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) may not be ideal in the modern Democratic Party, but Demings provides something different as a former Orlando police chief. That said, some in the party are balking at her record on that, too. One thing’s clear: Her record in Orlando will be at issue and will be vetted like never before. (Previous ranking: 6)
2. Elizabeth Warren: Klobuchar and others have urged Biden to make a diverse pick. And the conventional wisdom is that things are headed in that direction. Those public comments will certainly weigh against Warren and Whitmer. But it remains likely that nobody could bridge the ideological divisions in the party after the 2020 primaries like Warren, and many on the Biden team are fond of Warren. Given that potential consideration, it’s still difficult not to put her near the top of this list. (Previous ranking: 2)
1. Kamala D. Harris: She’s been the favorite from the start, and there’s no changing that now — especially in light of Klobuchar and others encouraging Biden to pick a minority running mate. Nobody else on this list matches that description with such a high-ranking résumé or experience on the national stage. And whatever reservations exist about Harris’s past as a prosecutor, she has shown she is a capable messenger. (Previous ranking: 1)
Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.