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NOTE: This story has been updated to add comment from Tony Coelho.
SACRAMENTO—Tony Coelho, the former California Member of Congress, has been pushing hard for Joe Biden to select Rep. Karen Bass (D-37) as his running mate, the Globe has learned.
According to a highly placed source in Sacramento, Coelho, whose 10-year stint included many atop the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has been in close contact with the Bass camp. The source told the Globe that Coelho told another person that “Biden’s folks told Bass it’s her or Duckworth.”
Through a spokesman, Mr. Coelho denied saying the remarks the source attributed to him, telling the Globe, “No one involved with Congressmember Bass has ever made a statement remotely like that to me.”
The former Vice President and presumed Democratic nominee has already pledged that his selection would be a woman. So Rep. Bass and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran from Illinois, have both been mentioned in the speculation surrounding the choice.
Bass’ stock has lately been rising, along with her profile. Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal released a video in which the Congresswoman attacked President Trump’s use of federal forces to quell protests in American cities.
Bass has been in Congress for ten years. She’s spent the last two chairing the Congressional Black Caucus at a time of unprecedented reconsideration of race in American politics. Biden’s history of supporting measures that some believe contributed to mass incarceration, as well as occasional gaffes when discussing racial matters, have led some to theorize that he’d be well-advised to choose a Black running mate. Others point to Biden’s having loyally carried out his duties serving alongside America’s first Black president. They theorize that the Delaware candidate has already “checked the box” and have advised him to select a centrist, presumably white running mate.
Has the vetting already begun?
Robert D. Lenhard, senior attorney in the Election and Political Law Practice Group of Covington & Burling LLP., is leading the legal team on vetting potential Democratic vice presidential nominees.
Lenhard declined to confirm that he’s been vetting Bass, telling the Globe, “I cannot talk to the press on any topic without the campaign’s permission.”
Before being elected to Congress, Bass served in the California State Assembly for six years, including the final two as Speaker. Those who put stock in election voodoo point to a further sign of Bass’ possible selection. From January through May of this year, her Wikipedia page was edited a total of 26 times. In June, it was 35. And so far in July, there have been 24 adjustments.
While denying having said that the decision boiled down to the two women, Coelho told the Globe, “I do feel that both Bass and Duckworth are well qualified and top contenders to be selected as the Vice Presidential nominee. But that is very different from what you have reported.”
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