Likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden surprised no one in putting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on his running mate short list, according to national reporting.
Whitmer endorsed Biden before Michigan’s March 10 primary, in which he defeated U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by almost 17 points. Biden holds a significant delegate lead that would be hard for Sanders to overcome, even with many primaries being postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In endorsing Biden, Whitmer told the Michigan Advance last month, “I’ve been watching this presidential race for the better part of the last year and a few months. I’m always focused on the dinner-table issues,” she said. “And I think that showing up and showing that you can get things done. … When the chips were down with the auto industry, it was [President] Barack Obama and Joe Biden that had our back.”
Whitmer has garnered national attention for her response to COVID-19, as well as attacks from President Donald Trump, whose administration’s response to the pandemic has been slow and contradictory. Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty recently exhorted Biden to pick Whitmer as his VP.
Biden has promised to pick a female vice president, after all six women running suspended their campaigns, a blow for many Democrats who hoped, again, to see the nation’s first female president elected.
New York Magazine reports that Whitmer, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and U.S. Rep. Val Demmings (D-Fla.) are in the mix as top picks, although several other names are out there.
In an MSNBC interview airing Tuesday, Biden said Whitmer “made the list in my mind two months ago” before the COVID-19 crisis really hit.
Whitmer has repeatedly said she isn’t interested in the job, starting in December 2018, when she told the Michigan Advance in an exclusive interview before taking office.