Joe Biden has tapped four allies to lead a committee to advise him on his vice-presidential selection, a process that will be especially closely watched given his age and speculation that he might not seek a second term if elected. The co-chairs of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s panel are former Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, Delaware Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Cynthia Hogan, vice president for policy and government affairs at Apple Inc. as well as a former White House and Senate counsel to Biden.
They will conduct conversations with Democrats across the party and work with the lawyers who are running the vetting process, Biden’s campaign said Thursday.
Biden, who served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, has committed to choosing a woman as his running mate and has said that he will look to his own “simpatico” relationship with Obama for guidance.
“Selecting a vice-presidential candidate is one of the most important decisions in a presidential campaign and no one knows this more than Joe Biden,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement.
Former White House counsel Bob Bauer, campaign general counsel Dana Remus and former Obama homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco will lead what the campaign described as a “network” of vetting teams.
Biden could have used the committee to show a commitment to reaching out to the supporters of his former rivals. But all four appointees to the selection committee have longstanding relationships with him. Blunt Rochester, a second-term representative, is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which may mean she leads the outreach to those who supported progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren during the primary. Garcetti, 49, is the youngest of the four panel members.
Biden told donors on Wednesday that he hopes to have the vetting process completed by July but has not said when he intends to announce his final pick. The Democratic National Convention had been scheduled to be held in Milwaukee in mid-July but has been pushed back a month because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton began her selection process in mid-April with about 20 potential names who were vetted based on publicly available information. That group was cut in half in June and the remaining candidates were asked to provide additional information to the lawyers studying their backgrounds. Eventually, several candidates sat for in-person interviews with Clinton before she announced her choice of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine the weekend before the Democratic convention that July.
Biden’s team is likely to closely consider three women who ran for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Senators Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Warren of Massachusetts, as well as a handful of other women in the Senate, including Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
Biden has expressed interest in considering Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives who was the state’s Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, has been especially public in expressing interest in the post.