Biden confirms Whitmer on VP short list

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a rally for former Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit, March 9, 2020 | Andrew Roth

    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.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit, March 9, 2020 | Andrew Roth

    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.

    Susan J. Demas: From ‘fix the damn roads’ to give us the damn masks: Whitmer’s governorship takes an unexpected national turn

    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.

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    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.