Biden associates reach out to Holder about VP search

Biden associates reach out to Holder about VP search

Associates of Joe BidenJoe BidenPresidents and 'presidents' Biden to blast Trump's church photo op in Philadelphia speech Rudy Giuliani calls on Cuomo to remove Bill de Blasio MORE have reached out to former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderGOP group launches redistricting site Legal challenges to stay-at-home orders gain momentum Census delay threatens to roil redistricting 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 SandersFive things to watch in Tuesday's primaries Nina Turner responds to Cornel West's remarks about George Floyd COVID-19 pandemic will shrink economy by trillion in next decade: CBO 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 Devi HarrisHarris: Trump 'just tear-gassed peaceful protesters for a photo op' Harris, Jeffries question why Manafort, Cohen released while others remain in prison George Floyd's death ramps up the pressure on Biden for a black VP MORE (Calif.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBottom line Judd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP MORE (Minn.), as well as Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoThe Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation Cortez Masto says she's not interested in being Biden VP The Memo: Activists press Biden on VP choice MORE (D-Nev.) and Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsGeorge Floyd's death ramps up the pressure on Biden for a black VP Demings: 'America is on fire' and Trump 'is walking around with gasoline' Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP 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 John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police 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.”