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Biden selects Kamala Harris, his former 2020 rival, as his vice chairman

The 55-year-old former California attorney general will be the first black woman to be named vice president of any major political party.

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August
11, 2020

3 min read

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

Alleged Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced that Senator Kamala Harris of California will be his vice president. This makes her the first woman of color on a presidential ticket from a major party.

The selection makes Harris a leader in the Democratic Party, with a chance to be a heartbeat away from the presidency and a favorite for the next nomination in 2024 or 2028.

Harris, 55, briefly topped the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, but dropped out last December as the buzz and campaign money lagged. The former public prosecutor argued in particular with Biden about his opposition to government-imposed fines for the integration of racial schools at the beginning of his political career.

77-year-old Biden said he was "blind" from the attack, particularly given Harris' friendship with his late son Beau, but the two later reconciled and were considered friends at subsequent campaign events.

See Also: Twitter Adds Tampered Media Label to White House Biden Video

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

Born in Oakland, California, the son of Jamaican and Indian descent, Harris was the first woman and African American to serve as the district attorney in San Francisco and attorney general in California.

Harris joined the Senate in 2017 after winning the race to succeed longtime Senator Barbara Boxer. He was only the second black woman to serve in the Chamber and the first South Asian American ever to be elected to the Senate.

Early in her tenure in the Senate, Harris was known for her sharp questions during committee hearings, particularly those of the Supreme Court hearings of Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General William Barr.

During the main campaign, Harris did well early on but struggled later when the campaign funds dried up. She retired from the race in early December 2019 to avoid possible disappointments in the first competitions.

Harris endorsed Biden in March and sparked a new round of VP speculation.

From "Top Cop" to leader of the anti-Trump "Resistance"

In her home state, Harris developed a reputation as a shrewd but careful "top police officer".

She campaigned for some progressive reforms in California, including the introduction of a program in San Francisco that for the first time provided education and work opportunities for drug offenders instead of prison sentences. But she also defended the state's death penalty and fought to punish the parents of chronically gay school children more severely.

Over the past four years, Harris has become an outspoken, media-savvy voice for the anti-Trump resistance. Clips from her former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh and CIA Director Gina Haspel on Senate floor have gone viral.

And she's secured a seat alongside some of the most progressive members of her caucus, with a vote that matches other former 2020 candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand. But as a presidential candidate, Harris positioned himself as a moderate progressive, without advocating Medicare for everyone and gradually proposing political reforms.

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