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From veepstakes to Cabinet? Where Biden's running mate contenders might land if he wins

Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

All but one of the women Joe Biden might pick as his running mate will end up disappointed, but already a new guessing game has started: What other roles could they fill in his administration?

Most of the women are Democratic Party stars with expertise in public policy, making them contenders for jobs in Biden's administration should the former vice president unseat President Donald Trump. They are U.S. senators and House members. They include former prosecutors, an ex-police chief and a foreign policy expert. Some are on the front lines of responding to the coronavirus pandemic and the protests against police brutality and racial discrimination.

"They all bring unique strengths," said Kelly Dittmar, the research director at Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics.

Biden's pledge to pick a woman as his running mate means America will have its first female vice president if he wins. The vetting is a grueling ordeal, with Biden advisors sifting through exhaustive dossiers on everything in the women's backgrounds. Will any of those who endured it be willing to accept another job later as consolation?

--Kamala Harris: Top cop or Supreme Court justice?

The U.S. senator from California, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, has been floated as a Supreme Court nominee to fulfill another Biden promise: that he would put a Black woman on the high court.

 

Harris would also be a prime candidate for U.S. attorney general. A career prosecutor who was California's attorney general and San Francisco's district attorney before her 2016 election to the Senate, Harris often used to describe herself as the state's "top cop."

She quickly made her name in Washington by grilling Trump nominees and officials from her seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her pointed interrogation of Jeff Sessions when he was attorney general left him so flustered that he told her it "makes me nervous" to be rushed into responding.

When Harris was a Biden rival in the presidential primaries, her work as a prosecutor was a source of trouble, raising doubts among some Democrats about her record on racial disparities in the justice system. But many believe it clearly qualifies her to run the Justice Department.

"Harris could be an amazing attorney general," said Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress and a former advisor to Hillary Clinton.

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