Biden announced his pick on Tuesday, with Harris previously considered a front-runner for the post, alongside former National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Earlier in his campaign, Biden had pledged to tap a woman of color for the role, avoiding criticism from progressives centered around his own status as an old, white man.
Harris ran against Biden during primary season, though never found the popularity to challenge the former Vice President the way Sen. Bernie Sanders did. During one particularly heated debate, Harris attacked Biden’s record on racial issues, criticizing the Delaware Democrat for his past relationships with segregationists and his opposition to school busing.
Announcing his choice on Twitter, Biden described Harris as “a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants.”
Harris is the first black woman on a presidential ticket in American history, a fact that will likely curry favor with some social justice-minded voters. However, Harris’ past as California’s Attorney General may draw scorn from progressives. As the state’s top cop, Harris oversaw the jailing of parents over their children’s truancy, and argued against the release of nonviolent offenders, who she kept behind bars to serve as prison labor.
As District Attorney of San Francisco, Harris was also responsible for securing more than 1,900 convictions against marijuana users, despite admitting on the campaign trail that she herself tried pot in college.
Since then, Harris has rebranded herself as a bonafide progressive. She joined protesters on the streets of Washington, DC, after the death of George Floyd in May, and was supported in her bid for running mate by Ben Crump, the Floyd family’s lawyer.
Biden and Harris will deliver remarks on the announcement in Delaware on Wednesday, the Biden campaign said in a statement.
Biden is currently leading President Donald Trump in most national opinion polls, though Trump insists the polls are unreliable. However, Harris’ inclusion on the Biden ticket is perhaps more consequential to the vote than that of any recent running mate, due to Biden’s advanced age and apparent cognitive decline. A recent survey found that a majority of voters don’t expect the 77-year-old to serve a full four year term if elected. Three quarters of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats think Biden isn’t up to running the country for four years.
Shortly after the announcement, Trump tweeted out an attack ad against Harris, calling her a “radical left” choice who’d raise taxes and eventually take over the reins from Biden. “Slow Joe and Phoney Kamala,” the ad stated. “Perfect for each other. Wrong for America.”