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Biden associates reach out to Holder about VP search

Biden associates reach out to Holder about VP search

Associates of Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Rep. Rohrabacher says he took part in Jan. 6 march to Capitol but did not storm building Saudis picked up drugs in Cairo used to kill Khashoggi: report Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting MORE have reached out to former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderDemocratic group launches seven-figure ad campaign on voting rights bill Biden: 'Simply wrong' for Trump DOJ to seek journalists' phone records Returning the ghost of Eric Holder to the Justice Department MORE about the process of selecting a running mate, according to a person close to the former vice president’s campaign.

Holder helped guide former President Obama’s running-mate selection process in 2008, along with Caroline Kennedy and longtime Democratic operative Jim Johnson, who stepped down from that role after a week amid a controversy related to mortgages he received.

That Biden’s associates have reached out to Holder about the selection process was first reported on Thursday by The New York Times. The Times also reported that Biden had spoken with Obama about the matter. 

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Aides to the former vice president did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment on the discussions.

Biden is the prohibitive front-runner in the Democratic primary race, having amassed a nearly insurmountable delegate lead over his only remaining rival, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders won't vote for bipartisan infrastructure deal Bipartisan infrastructure deal takes fire from left and right Politics of discontent: Who will move to the center and win back Americans' trust? MORE (I-Vt.). 

Because several states have delayed their primaries due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Biden won’t be able to officially clinch the presidential nomination until June. But in the meantime, he’s begun to give serious thought to whom he will select as his eventual vice presidential candidate.

The question of whom to tap as a running mate is a crucial one for any presidential hopeful, but especially for Biden. 

At 78 years old, there has been speculation for over a year that he could choose not to run for a second term if he wins the presidency. At the same time, he faces the task of uniting a party split along generational and ideological lines.

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Biden committed last month to choosing a woman as his running mate. And he said earlier this week in an interview with MSNBC’s Brian Williams that he is considering somewhere between six and 10 potential picks, mentioning Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as one possibility.

But a handful of others are also seen as potential choices for Biden, including at least two of his former rivals for the Democratic nomination, Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris highlights COVID-19 vaccination safety, efficacy in SC event to kick off tour Kamala Harris is still not ready for primetime (much less 2024) Lara Trump calls on Americans at border to 'arm up and get guns and be ready' MORE (Calif.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill House unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' MORE (Minn.), as well as Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoInfighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Top union unveils national town hall strategy to push Biden's jobs plan 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (D-Nev.) and Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsDemings raises million after announcing Senate bid against Rubio The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden mission abroad: reward friends, constrain adversaries Florida Rep. Val Demings officially enters Senate race against Rubio MORE (D-Fla.). 

Aides to Biden have said the running-mate selection process is still in its early phases and that the list of potential candidates remains fluid.

One major topic of discussion among Biden’s allies is whether he should prioritize regional ties. For instance, picking Whitmer could help boost his candidacy in Michigan, a state that President TrumpDonald TrumpDOJ asks Supreme Court to revive Boston Marathon bomber death sentence, in break with Biden vow Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting DOJ tells media execs that reporters were not targets of investigations MORE carried in 2016 and that Democrats are eager to win back. Demings could potentially help him in Florida, the nation’s largest swing state.

Some allies have also expressed a desire to see Biden pick a woman of color as his running mate, including Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking black member of Congress whose endorsement of Biden in February marked the beginning of a turning point for the former vice president’s campaign.

“I really believe that we’ve reached a point in this country where African American women need to be rewarded for the loyalty that they’ve given to this party,” Clyburn told NPR in an interview last month. “So I would really be pushing for an African American female to go on the ticket.”