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National News

Gretchen Whitmer Met with Biden to Discuss Possibly Being His Running Mate

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Gretchen Whitmer Met with Biden to Discuss Possibly Being His Running Mate

2020-08-10 13:21:55

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Gretchen Whitmer (Image source: Julia Pickett via Wikimedia Commons)

With many people believing they had the Democratic vice presidential race figured out, a name that was whispered before has jumped back into consideration. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), with just days to go before former Vice President Joe Biden officially names his pick, traveled to his home state of Delaware.

Biden said back in March, before he was even the presumptive Democratic 2020 presidential nominee, that he would choose a woman to be his running mate. There have been many names bandied about since, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) the frontrunner on every list.

But Whitmer made a name for herself going toe to toe with Donald Trump with regard to Michigan's coronavirus pandemic response. She asked for help obtaining PPE, and Trump complained about her on Fox News. Undaunted, she came right back at him.

Her name has not been mentioned lately, though, as pundits have narrowed their potential Biden running mate picks to a handful. However, she is the first potential pick to have interviewed with Biden for the job. The meeting was confirmed by two people who were familiar with the interview.

While Biden had said he would announce his choice last week, the weekend before that, he met with Whitmer, then didn't make his pick. He is now expected to make his pick public this week.

Other names currently considered high on his list include Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), former national security adviser Susan Rice, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Rep. Val Demmings (D-FL).

Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown would not confirm the governor's trip to Delaware. "We don't discuss the governor's personal schedule," she said.

However, a twin-engine chartered jet flew from Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, Michigan, early in the evening on August 2. The jet landed in Delaware Coastal Airport and returned to Lansing three hours later.

Michigan-based attorney Barry Goodman, a top fundraiser for both the governor and the former vice president, said, "She'd be wonderful if she's the VP."

Many believe Biden should pick a woman of color, and there are a number of women of color among those assumed to be under consideration.

While choosing Whitmer would go against that, Goodman and others have noted that if Whitmer became the next vice president, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist would become Michigan's first Black governor. "That can be the saving grace if Biden even needs to respond to that," explained Goodman.

He listed as another Whitmer strength, "Everybody has a skeleton in the closet. I don't know one for Gretchen. That's a plus."

There has also been concern that if Biden picked a female member of Congress, it leaves a potential seat behind at risk of being filled with a Republican at a time when every Democratic seat is counted on. Choosing a governor wouldn't affect that balance.

She served in the state legislature for 14 years and won the governor's race in 2018 by nearly 10 points. In February she delivered the Democratic response to the State of the Union address.

Biden was asked in March whether Whitmer was on his running mate list and if he'd added her to his list after she stood up to Trump. He responded, "She hasn't lengthened the list. She made the list, in my mind, two months ago." 

The Sunday she is said to have traveled to Delaware, the governor was scheduled to be interviewed on MSNBC regarding Biden's search for a running mate. Her team unexpectedly canceled the appearance the morning before.

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