Washington: Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has announced California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, ending weeks of increasingly frenzied speculation.
If Biden wins on November 3, Harris would become the first female vice-president in US history. Just two women – Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008 – have previously been on the ballot as US vice-presidential candidates.
Joe Biden’s VP pick: Kamala Harris.Credit:AP
Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, will be the first black woman to feature on a presidential ticket in US history.
Biden announced his decision in an email to supporters on Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday AEST).
"I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead," Biden wrote.
"Kamala is that person. I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our nation are suffering. Whether they've lost their job, their business, a loved one to this virus."
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris shake hands after a Democratic presidential primary debate in September last year.Credit:AP
In a separate tweet he described Harris, 55, as a "fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants".
Before joining the US Senate in 2017, Harris served as attorney-general of California, the country's most populous state.
Harris ran for the Democratic Party's nomination but, despite generating early buzz and some impressive debate performances, failed to catch fire with voters and dropped out before the Iowa caucuses.
Biden announced at a Democratic debate in March that he would select a woman as his running mate, the first time a candidate has made such an explicit pledge.
The vice-presidential announcement is one of the marquee moments each election year, but has generated especially intense interest this year.
Given Biden will be 78 years old by inauguration day, there is a high likelihood he will only serve one term as president – putting his running mate in a strong position to succeed him in 2024.
Describing why this year’s vice-presidential slot is a particularly appealing role, former Democratic senator Claire McCaskill recently said, "You’re writing your ticket to be the first woman president."
Biden and Harris will officially accept the party's nomination at the Democratic National Convention next week.
More to come
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