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August 11, 2020

Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as vice presidential running mate for 2020 election

The California senator and former prosecutor was a candidate for the Democratic nomination earlier this year

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has picked California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate for November's presidential election.

Harris, 55, was among a large group of Democratic candidates who flashed potential during debates over the past year. She said she was "honored" to be Biden's pick in a statement Tuesday afternoon. 

"You make a lot of important decisions as president," Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, said in an email to supporters on Tuesday. "But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President. I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021."

A former prosecutor, Harris currently is the only Black woman in the U.S. Senate and would be the first female, first Black and first Asian American vice president in the United States.

Biden reportedly had also considered California Rep. Karen Bass, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth. 

During her time as attorney general in California, Harris worked closely with the late Beau Biden, then Delaware's Attorney General, on a range of initiatives that helped forge a relationship with the family.

At a debate last year, Harris notably sparred with Biden over his record on racial issues in the United States. Since dropping out of the race in December, Harris has been vocal in her support of Biden, participating in virtual fundraisers and campaigning to preserve the Affordable Care Act.

Harris has faced criticism from the more progressive wing of the Democratic party, which has challenged her record as a prosecutor on issues such as marijuana convictions and truancy. This year, amid a national push for police and criminal justice reform, Harris increasingly has positioned herself as a progressive who will take on the questions of racial equity posed by the COVID-19 crisis and the death of George Floyd. 

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in 2016, congratulated Harris and said she would be a "strong partner" to Biden. 

A national poll conducted by Monmouth University in August currently gives Biden a 10-point lead over Trump, whose campaign has intensified around battleground states including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia.