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A chance to make history — Biden’s all-female VP shortlist

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has promised to pick a woman as his running mate against Donald Trump in November.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

And with Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race, the spotlight is focused on Biden’s choice to serve in the job which he held for eight years under Barack Obama.

Will it be someone considerably younger than the 77-year-old Biden? A minority? A candidate to the left of him? Someone who could help with midwestern voters?

Women have occupied the VP slot on the ticket of a major US political party on two previous occasions.

Republican John McCain picked Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 and Democrat Walter Mondale selected New York congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

Both McCain and Mondale lost the general election.

Biden has said he will begin the search for a vice presidential nominee in earnest before the end of the month and has already come up with a shortlist of 12-15 names.

He said he has asked former president Obama for advice and was told to look for someone who “has strengths where I have weaknesses.”

Here is a look at some of the names that have been floated for Biden’s “veep”:

– Kamala Harris –

Harris, the junior senator from California, was considered a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination but she dropped out in December after failing to break out of the crowded field.

Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris

The 55-year-old former attorney general of California is now considered one of the front-runners to be Biden’s vice presidential pick.

Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian ancestry, endorsed Biden over Sanders last month and was close to his late son Beau, the former attorney general of Delaware who died in 2015.

Having a black woman on the ticket could be key to consolidating the support of African-Americans, a key Democratic voting bloc, in the November election.

– Elizabeth Warren –

Warren, the senior senator from Massachusetts, ended her run for the Democratic nomination in early March but has declined to endorse either Biden or Sanders.

US Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (Getty Images)
US Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (Getty Images)

The 70-year-old progressive lawmaker could be the moderate Biden’s vice presidential choice in a bid to attract left-leaning Sanders supporters to the polls in November.

– Amy Klobuchar –

Klobuchar, the senior senator from Minnesota, also made a bid for the Democratic nomination but dropped out in early March after failing to register above single digits in national polling.

Amy Klobuchar
Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar, 59, is a centrist in the mold of Biden and having her on the ticket could improve his prospects in the midwestern states which could prove crucial in November.

– Stacey Abrams –

Abrams, 46, a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, narrowly lost a 2016 bid to become the first black female governor of a US state.

Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams

The charismatic African-American politician may not have experience at the national level but she could be a popular choice among black voters.

– Gretchen Whitmer –

Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, endorsed Biden ahead of the state’s Democratic primary, a move that was seen as critical to his victory there over Sanders.

Gretchen Whitmer
Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan is one of the states that Biden will need to win in November to defeat Trump and having the popular 48-year-old Whitmer as his VP could boost his chances.

– Michelle Lujan Grisham and Catherine Cortez Masto –

Catherine Cortez-Masto, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Veronica Escobar. (Getty Images file)
Catherine Cortez-Masto, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Veronica Escobar. (Getty Images file)

If Biden is looking to have a Hispanic woman on the ballot, two leading candidates are Lujan Grisham, 60, the first female governor of New Mexico, or Cortez Masto, 56, the former attorney general of Nevada who was elected to the US Senate in 2016.

– Others –

Several other names have also surfaced in the VP stakes including Florida Representative Val Demings, 63, who served as a House impeachment manager during Trump’s Senate trial, Tammy Duckworth, 52, a former US Army helicopter pilot and combat veteran who is a senator from Illinois, and Tammy Baldwin, a 58-year-old senator from the battleground state of Wisconsin. AFP