Biden edges closer to VP pick: Here’s who’s up and who’s down

Joe Biden is expected to choose his running mate this weekend, after a months-long search that began with several dozen options and has been narrowed down to a select few, confidants say. 

All the candidates have seen their stocks rise at one point or another during the vetting process. 

“One of the most interesting things is watching it all play out,” said a source close to one of the contenders. “No one knows exactly where they are.” 

Here’s a look at where the would-be running mates stand.

Kamala Harris

The California Democratic senator is riding steady in the vice presidential race, with most observers — including those in Biden World — thinking she remains the favorite.

But in recent days, she’s been uncomfortable with the rash of headlines about the perceived tension with Biden and his team. 

Sources say she has been making a string of last-minute phone calls, hoping for last-minute endorsements. 

“There’s no doubt she wants it,” said one source who has spoken to her. 

Even as she remains the favorite, “she’s nervous,” the source said. 

Susan Rice 

Biden confidants say President Obama’s former national security adviser remains high on the list because of the former vice president’s close relationship with her. 

“He knows exactly what he’s getting with Susan,” said one source who knows both principals. 

Rice, who in previous weeks made the rounds on cable television to help promote Biden but remained mostly mum about her own prospects, has been all-in, making a final pitch for the job. 

She touted her “almost 20 years of deep experience in the senior most ranks of the executive branch,” in an interview on “CBS This Morning” earlier this week. 

Rice also exercised her stock options in Netflix since joining the streaming service’s board a couple of years ago, The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Thursday, a sign that she could be divesting to avoid a conflict of interest.  

Gretchen Whitmer

Whitmer, in a surprise, is up in the race again. 

Sources told The Hill this week that Whitmer was still in the running among the last round of contenders. The Michigan governor traveled to Delaware last weekend to meet with Biden as part of the one-on-one final interviews he’s conducting, a source confirmed.

Democrats suspect internal polling may show the Upper Midwest being more of a concern for Biden, which may be why his team hasn’t crossed her off the list. 

Plus, she and Biden mesh well. 

“Not surprised she’s in the mix,” said one Biden confidant. “He likes her. Always has.” 

The confidant noted that she “endorsed early-ish,” represents the new blood of the party and hails from a state Biden would like in his column. 

Karen Bass

Bass is a favorite of Democrats in Congress, but her stock is a bit down after news reports in the last week focused on her remarks on Cuba and Scientology.

The California Democratic congresswoman had tons of momentum going into last weekend as members of Congress rallied behind the Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman. She’s still seen as a candidate who could help Biden with her legislative experience and ties to government. 

“If you know Joe, you know why she’s on the short list,” one Biden ally said. “She would make a good partner for him.”

But following her interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last weekend, some Democrats concluded she might be a risky choice and that she could hurt Biden in the key swing state of Florida, which has a large Cuban American population. 

Elizabeth Warren 

Warren has been relatively quiet in recent days compared with the other contenders.

But those in Biden World say observers shouldn’t read that to mean the Massachusetts Democratic senator is out of the running. 

For starters, she and Biden have been talking frequently, sources say. And none of the other contenders have been more influential on Biden’s recent economic proposal than Warren. 

In a New York Times story on Friday, Warren said she had been working with Jill Biden, the former second lady, on the child care component of the economic proposal. 

The former vice president “jumped in early on the issue,” Warren told the Times. 

“That gives me real hope going forward that this will be a priority in a Biden administration,” she added.

Tammy Duckworth 

Democrats close to Biden say he has a fondness for Duckworth, the Democratic senator from Illinois, and they say her personal story — an Iraq war veteran who received the Purple Heart — is an incredible one that would resonate with voters. 

Still, they voice some skepticism about whether she’ll get the final nod for vice president. 

“You hear her name mentioned more along the lines of a Cabinet position,” one ally said. 

Duckworth was asked this week if she wants to be vice president. 

“I want Joe Biden to get elected,” she told NPR on Wednesday. “I’ll play any position on his team that he thinks will help lead us out of the crises that we’re in, whether it’s the global pandemic, whether it’s our economy, whether it’s our foreign adversaries.”  

“I really am very neutral as to what position I play,” she said. “I just want to get him elected so that we can get this country back on track again.” 

Tags Elizabeth Warren Gretchen Whitmer Joe Biden Karen Bass Tammy Duckworth Vice presidential race
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