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California Senator Kamala Harris named as Joe Biden's vice-presidential running mate

Harris ran against Biden to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

US Senator Kamala Harris will be Joe Biden's running mate.
US Senator Kamala Harris will be Joe Biden's running mate.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

KAMALA HARRIS HAS been chosen as the running mate of Joe Biden, the former US-vice president who is set to face Donald Trump in the US presidential election. 

Harris, a Senator for California who ran to be the Democratic Presidential nominee, has been a fierce critic in the past of Trump. 

A former attorney general of California, she became only the second black woman to be elected to the US Senate. 

Biden announced his pick tonight, describing Harris as “a fearless fighter for the little guy”. 

“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,” he said.

“I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

Harris said she was honoured to join Biden, who she said would “build an America that lives up to our ideals” if elected.

In adding Harris to the ticket, Biden can point to her relatively centrist record on issues such as healthcare and her background in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.

Her record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinised during the Democratic primary and turned off some liberals and younger black voters who saw her as out of step on issues of systemic racism in the legal system and police brutality.

She tried to strike a balance on these issues, declaring herself a “progressive prosecutor” who backs law enforcement reforms.

‘Kamala Harris for the People’

Born in Oakland to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris won her first election in 2003 when she became San Francisco’s district attorney. In the role, she created a reentry programme for low-level drug offenders and cracked down on student truancy.

She was elected California’s attorney general in 2010, the first woman and black person to hold the job, and focused on issues including the foreclosure crisis.

She declined to defend the state’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage and was later overturned by the US Supreme Court.

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As her national profile grew, Harris built a reputation around her work as a prosecutor. After being elected to the Senate in 2016, she quickly gained attention for her assertive questioning of Trump administration officials during congressional hearings.

In one memorable moment last year, Harris tripped up Attorney General William Barr when she repeatedly pressed him on whether President Trump or other White House officials pressured him to investigate certain people.

Harris launched her presidential campaign in early 2019 with the slogan ‘Kamala Harris For the People’, a reference to her courtroom work.

She was one of the highest-profile contenders in a crowded Democratic primary and attracted 20,000 people to her first campaign rally in Oakland.

But the early promise of her campaign eventually faded. Her law enforcement background prompted scepticism from some progressives, and she struggled to land on a consistent message that resonated with voters.

Facing fundraising problems, Harris abruptly withdrew from the race in December 2019, two months before the first votes of the primary were cast.

Harris will serve as vice-president if Biden wins. Biden, who is 77, would be the oldest person elected president if he wins the race to the Oval Office.

- With reporting from Press Association.

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