Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has already pledged to pick a female running mate.
Then last week, he told a black radio host that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Now, political pundits and pollsters are predicting that the former vice president could well be under a lot of pressure to pick a black female as his running mate in 2020.
Enter Rep. Val Demings.
The 63-year-old Democrat is a former career law enforcement officer, serving as chief of police in Orlando, FL, for four years before entering politics. After a couple electoral losses, Demings won the Florida 10th congressional district seat in 2016, then ran unopposed two years later.
And her star has been rising quickly. In January, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked Demings to serve as one of seven impeachment managers in the Senate trial of President Trump.
Bookies are taking note. Last Friday, her odds were +2000 to be on the Democratic ticket. By the weekend, she was all the way up to +1200, according to bookies.com.
California Sen. Kamala Harris remains the favorite but has slipped to +180 from +160. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar continues to climb as well and is at +300 as the second choice, according to odds posted at 888sports’ UK-facing betting site.
Klobuchar had slipped from +350 back to +575 before rebounding amid reports she has joined the list of candidates being formally vetted. The presumptive Democratic nominee has said he’ll pick a woman as his running mate.
Here are the latest 2020 Democratic vice presidential betting odds:
- Kamala Harris +180
- Amy Klobuchar +300
- Elizabeth Warren +700
- Michelle Obama +800
- Gretchen Whitmer +1000
- Val Demings +1200
- Stacey Abrams +1400
- Hillary Clinton +2000
- Catherine Cortez Masto +2000
Of those candidates, only Harris, Obama, Demings and Abrams are black. But Demings brings the possibility that she could help deliver Florida, always a swing state in presidential elections.
Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York said this week that Biden faces “increasing pressure” to pick a black woman.
“He has already said that he’s guaranteed to choose a woman,” York said on Fox News. “And he’s under increasing pressure now for it to be a woman of color.”
“We’ve heard about Kamala Harris, we’ve heard about Stacey Abrams, we’ve heard about Val Demings and he said they are all on his list right now,” York said.
Biden tried to assuage anger over his “you ain’t black” comment, expressing regret for his remarks during a phone conversation with The U.S. Black Chambers Inc., last Friday.
“The bottom line of all of this perhaps I was much too cavalier,” Biden said. “I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African-American vote for granted but nothing could be further from the truth … I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy.”
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