Gretchen Whitmer made some waves on Tuesday when she announced she had begun talking with the Biden campaign about a potential vice presidential spot. Whitmer has become a very prominent name in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, but a lot of that prominence is as controversial to some as it is praised by others.
The biggest problem for Whitmer is just how late to the game she is. The media has already gone from Stacey Abrams to Elizabeth Warren to Abrams again; Kamala Harris has been shown to be popular among some Democratic voters, and even Amy Klobuchar’s name is still tossed around some.
I’ve said before that Kamala Harris is a likely choice, based on certain statistics with a history of determining who the pick would be, but other than the Biden campaign repeatedly trashing Abrams in anonymous quotes, there has been radio silence from his team as to who is being considered.
Whitmer, who has been a co-chair of Biden’s national campaign and Karen-in-Chief during her state’s lockdown, has defended Biden from the Tara Reade allegations and has been a loud voice against President Donald Trump and his handling of the virus. Still, she only just became governor two years ago. She won a statewide race, but was only a state legislator before that. As someone who values experience, Biden is probably wary of this.
However, in talking with some very progressive friends, another name has been floated as a possibility that I would take seriously if I were the Biden campaign: Tammy Duckworth.
An Iraq war veteran and the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress, Duckworth checks off a lot of identity boxes that the Biden campaign has been looking for. They want a minority woman on the ticket, and she fits the profile. Plus, a war veteran is a more likely choice if you want to get center-right independents who dislike Trump on board with your campaign. I would not be surprised to see pieces on Duckworth come out in the near future as the race for running mate picks up.
There is another option, and it does tie in to the coronavirus outbreak: New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Like Duckworth, she ticks off a lot of boxes: woman and Hispanic American. Her handling of the virus outbreak in her state, however, has been far less prominent and controversial than Whitmer’s, and she is generally more likeable than Whitmer, which is something that is very necessary when you’re out on the campaign trail.
The typical window for making the choice, though, is between mid-July and mid-August, so we’re still a ways away from anything official. But, given the way things are right now, the Biden team might see the pick as a way to get a campaign at a stand-still some life again. It’s impossible to say what they’ll do, but we are getting down to the wire.