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Biden’s narrows VP list: Unclear if Val Demings made cut

Sources say for sure in 2nd round of vetting: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Susan Rice

Joe Biden’s search for a running mate is entering a second round of vetting for a dwindling list of potential vice presidential nominees, with several black women in strong contention.

Democrats with knowledge of the process said Biden’s search committee has narrowed the choices to as few as six serious contenders after initial interviews. Among the group still in contention.

Those whose names are being shared by sources are Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California, as well as Susan Rice, who served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser.

Those with knowledge declined to name other contenders and said the process remains somewhat fluid. Additional candidates may still be asked to submit to the extensive document review process now underway for some top contenders. Those familiar with Biden’s search spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the process. The campaign dismissed the idea of a shortened list as early speculation. “Those who talk don’t know and those who know don’t talk,” said Andrew Bates, a Biden spokesman.

Orlando’s Rep. Val Demings has been frequently mentioned as a potential candidate, especially in recent weeks. But as with several other prominent names, such as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, no one’s saying whether they’ve made the cut.

Biden has not yet had any formal one-on-one interviews expressly to discuss the No. 2 spot on the ticket. Those aren’t expected for several weeks.

Biden, who has already said he will pick a woman as his running mate, is facing increased calls from Democrats to put a woman of color on the ticket — both because of the outsize role that black voters played in Biden’s road to the nomination and because of the reckoning over racism and inequality roiling the nation following the death of George Floyd. The black Minneapolis man died after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck for several minutes, an episode that was captured on video.

Terry McAuliffe, the former Virginia governor and former Democratic National Committee chairman, said that while Biden’s choice was likely to be “all about personal chemistry,” it would be “exciting for the party” to have a black woman on a major party presidential ticket for the first time.

The campaign’s first-round list includes several black women, including Harris, Rice, Demings, and Lance Bottoms, all of whom are black, and Lujan Grisham, a Latina.

Biden’s vetting committee had conversations with a larger group of women earlier this spring; those continuing on in the process have been asked to turn over financial records, past writings and other documentation. Biden has had various public and private interactions with many of the women his vetting committee has considered thus far.

One contender whose standing does appear to have fallen is Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who was a prosecutor years ago in the county that includes Minneapolis. During that period, more than two dozen people — mostly minorities — died during encounters with police.

While the people with knowledge of Biden’s vetting process did not rule Klobuchar out, she is widely viewed among Democrats with close ties to the Biden campaign as less likely to be tapped given recent events.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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