Despite a momentary surge from progressive Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was briefly giving him a real run for his money in the polls, former Vice President Joe Biden continues to be the true frontrunner of the Democratic field, as he has made a point of repeatedly emphasizing. As the “clear frontrunner,” as he’s put it, Biden is clearly comfortable enough with his status to discuss who might end up being his choice for a running mate.
“I am the clear frontrunner in the party,” Biden declared last week, brushing off the attempts to prop up others, particularly his main female competitor, Warren, as a legitimate threat to his candidacy. “I’m ahead on the national average of all the polls by 7% to 8%. But it’s a long way to go, a long way to go. And the other reason is that, look, whomever is the nominee, it’s not going to be enough just to beat Donald Trump. You’ve got to be able to win states like this, you’ve got to be able to be value added to make sure we pick up Senate seats and House seats. So in every one of these polls in these states, that I find myself — again, I’m not counting on the polls, but the fact is that I’m ahead in every one of the toss up states.”
Feeling confident in his frontrunner position, Biden recently showed he’s ready to take the conversation to the next level. At a town hall Friday evening, the former vice president took a question about who might end up being his choice as a running mate for 2020. He identified four women, describing them with enough specificity to be clear about who they are — though he chose not to name them, citing his desire to keep the press from getting overzealous.
Biden first responded to the question by joking, “You. Are you available?” then quickly pivoted to his real response.
“I could start naming people, but the press will think that’s who I picked,” he said, in comments reported by USA Today.
Biden then described four women, starting with “the former assistant attorney general who got fired,” a reference to former Assistant AG Sally Yates, who was axed by President Trump after she refused to enforce his travel ban in early 2017.
Biden then suggested “the woman who should have been the governor of Georgia,” an overt reference to failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who has refused to fully concede the race she lost to Republican Brian Kemp by 55,000 votes, blaming supposed racist voter suppression despite no evidence to corroborate her claims. As The Daily Wire reported, after the election, Abrams and her voter initiative Fair Fight Action “sued the state of Georgia over alleged widespread voter suppression,” though the lawsuit “condemns legislation that Abrams herself helped pass as a member of the Georgia General Assembly.”
The third and fourth potential running mates Biden floated were “the two senators from the state of New Hampshire,” a reference to Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Maggie Hassan (D).
As The Hill points out, of the women identified, one has already said she would be “happy” to join the Biden ticket. At an event in November at the University of Iowa celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage, Abram’s addressed the rumor that Biden made her an “offer she couldn’t refuse.”
“[W]hen I got the question [from reporters] I was, myself, contemplating my next steps,” said Abrams, as reported by The Daily Iowan. “And what I said was, you do not run in a primary for second place, so no, for whatever rumors are out there. However, I’m not in the primary, but you can run as second in the general election, and I am happy to do so with the nominee. That is my answer.”