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Joe Biden chooses Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is the third woman to be a vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is the third woman to be a vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate, making good on his months-long promise to choose a woman to be the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket.

"I have the great honor to announce that I've picked @KamalaHarris -- a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants -- as my running mate," Biden tweeted Tuesday.

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"Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I'm proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign."

Harris, D-Calif., was Biden's competitor in the Democratic primary, but dropped out of the race in December. She endorsed the former vice president in March and offered her commitment to his campaign again Tuesday.

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"@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he's spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he'll build an America that lives up to our ideals," she tweeted. "I'm honored to join him as our party's nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief."

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During a March Democratic primary debate, Biden committed to picking a woman to be his vice presidential candidate. With the announcement, Harris became the third woman to run as vice president on a major party's ticket.

Then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the late Sen. John McCain's pick in 2008 and Geraldine Ferraro ran with Walter Mondale in 1984. Several other women have run for vice president on third-party tickets in the Green, Libertarian, Reform, New Alliance, Progressive and Citizens parties.

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If Biden wins the Nov. 3 election, Harris would be the first woman in history to serve as vice president of the United States. She would also the first Black and first Asian woman to be second-in-command.

Harris, 55, served as California's attorney general until 2016, when she won the race to replace longtime Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2016. She serves on the homeland security and governmental affairs; intelligence; judiciary and budget committees.

She grew up in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., the daughter of a breast cancer scientist from India, Shyamala Gopalan, and a Stanford University professor from Jamaica, Donald Harris.

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Kamala Harris graduated from Howard University with degrees in political science and economics, and earned her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

She began her law career in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and in 2003 became district attorney for the city and county of San Francisco. She was elected California attorney general in 2010.

Harris is married to Douglas Emhoff, an attorney, and is stepmother to his two children from a previous marriage -- Cole Emhoff and Ella Emhoff.

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Douglas Emhoff posted a photo of Harris and Biden in response to Tuesday's announcement, tweeting, "America, let's do this!"

Former President Barack Obama said Biden "nailed this decision."

Harris "is more than prepared for the job. She's spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. Her own life story is one that I and so many others can see ourselves in: a story that says that no matter where you come from, what you look like, how you worship, or who you love, there's a place for you here," Obama said.

"It's a fundamentally American perspective, one that's led us out of the hardest times before. And it's a perspective we can all rally behind right now."

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Biden's selection came after an intense vetting process that at one point included more than a dozen candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth, Reps. Karen Bass and Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, former national security adviser Susan Rice and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan.

In recent elections, presumptive presidential nominees usually announced their chosen running mate ahead of their party's convention. The Democratic National Convention, which will be held remotely this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled for Monday through Aug. 20. Biden is slated to give his acceptance speech Aug. 20 from his Delaware home, and it's likely Harris also will make an appearance in some capacity.

Biden's campaign began the vetting process for potential running mates in May, led by a committee including Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., former Sen. Chris Dodd, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and attorney and adviser Cynthia Hogan.

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