Demings Says She’s on Biden’s ‘Short List’: Campaign Update

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(Bloomberg) -- Florida Representative Val Demings said she’s on Joe Biden’s “short list” to be his running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.

“I am on the short list and I’m honored to be on the short list,” Demings said in an interview on SiriusXM radio Thursday.

The second-term lawmaker, who served as a House manager in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, is a member of the moderate New Democratic Coalition, a 104-member group that supports reducing the budget deficit. She endorsed Biden on March 5, after the Super Tuesday contests.

Although she is in sync with Biden’s centrist views, her lack of experience at the national level might undercut one of his strongest selling points with voters, his lengthy experience in Washington. That might make her an unlikely choice.

Biden has said he will choose a woman to be his vice president. Others believed to be in contention are California Senator Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said she has been asked for references, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer told NBC’s “Today Show” on Tuesday that she’d had opening conversations with the campaign about joining the ticket. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who like Warren and Harris challenged Biden for the nomination, is being vetted for the role, according to CBS News.

Puerto Rico Sets Primary for July 12 (3:54 p.m.)

Puerto Rico Democrats grudgingly agreed to hold the island territory’s presidential primary in mid-July after Bernie Sanders demanded that the event not be canceled.

Puerto Rico Democratic Party Chairman Charles Rodriguez said in a statement that he had made it clear he “preferred to avoid the primary and save much needed public funds to deal with the COVID-19 emergency and budgetary constraints.” Sanders dropped out of the presidential race in March, leaving Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Rodriguez said he changed his mind because the primary is mandated by law and Sanders insisted “on participating in the primaries in Puerto Rico and other states in order to accumulate delegates that he believes will enable him to advance his platform proposals at the Democratic National Convention.” The Sanders campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rodriguez said voting in the July 12 primary would be in person but that the Legislative Assembly will vote next week on a measure to allow no-excuse absentee ballots and early voting, which “would provide safe alternatives to exercise the right to vote in the primary amid the coronavirus outbreak.”

The vote was initially slated for March 29 and was postponed until April 26. Over a dozen states have postponed their primaries or moved to holding primarily vote-by-mail elections amid the Covid-19 outbreak. -- Emma Kinery

Shaheen Says No to Vying for Biden VP Role (2:45 p.m.)

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen declined Joe Biden’s invitation to participate in the early vice presidential vetting process, according to a New Hampshire Democrat with direct knowledge of the discussions.

Shaheen, 73, was not considered to be a leading contender for Biden’s running mate, but the former vice president had floated her name as a potential pick while campaigning in Iowa in November.

Shaheen, who is running for her third term in the Senate, has also served as New Hampshire’s governor. Biden has also mentioned her counterpart in the Senate, Maggie Hassan, as a possible vice presidential pick.

Biden has promised to select a female running mate, and the vetting process for the position has already begun. In recent days, the campaign has asked some contenders to submit references. -- Tyler Pager

Biden Brings Out Favorite Republican Targets (12:46 p.m.)

Joe Biden’s campaign is turning to some former government officials who have been the targets of Republican ire since the Obama years for a little fund-raising help.

On June 2, Andrew Weissmann, Robert Mueller’s top deputy during the Russia investigation, is headlining a “fireside chat” with former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram. Tickets start at $500 and go up to $5,600, the combined maximum federal contribution for Biden’s primary and general election accounts.

Allies of President Donald Trump argued during the Mueller probe that Weissmann, who was first appointed to a federal post by George H.W. Bush, was partisan in his motives for giving $2,300 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

That same night, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, who both served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Obama administration, will appear at a virtual event moderated by the Biden campaign’s foreign policy director. Tickets start at $1,000 and go as high as $25,000 for co-chairs, who also have access to a private discussion with the speakers.

Republicans this week released a 2017 email in which Rice, who was also Obama’s national security adviser, detailed a meeting she’d had with then-FBI Director James Comey. Comey said he was concerned Rice’s incoming successor, Michael Flynn, was a security risk. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his conversations with foreign officials.

Republicans argue the email is damaging to Rice and the Obama team. Rice’s allies say it shows that she and her colleagues were being careful to document that they were following the rules. -- Jennifer Epstein

Coming up:

The District of Columbia, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Indiana have primaries on June 2.

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