Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at his South Carolina primary night rally in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., February 29, 2020.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
Joe Biden is in the process of narrowing down his list of potential running mates, and his allies in the business community are weighing in with their favorite choices.
Since Biden announced earlier this month that he plans to pick a woman as his nominee for vice president, leaders of Wall Street, Silicon Valley and other industries have been reaching out to him and his presidential campaign about whom they think should join him on the ticket, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Some of these business leaders involved with the lobbying effort are fundraising for Biden’s campaign. They declined to be named in this story because these conversations were deemed private.
Biden said Tuesday that he is looking to cut down his list of potential running mates in order to begin the vetting process, but he would not say whom he is considering.
The names being floated and pushed to Biden by this group include Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, two of his former rivals in the primary; Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada; Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; and Florida Rep. Val Demings, these people added.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kamala Harris(R) D-CA
Michael Reynolds | AFP via Getty Images
Cortez Masto has yet to endorse a candidate for president. Harris and Klobuchar endorsed Biden. Demings represents Florida’s 10th congressional district and was one of the House managers during President Donald Trump’s impeachment. Whitmer, who has been at the forefront of efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak, recently endorsed Biden.
Notably absent from the names mentioned to CNBC is Stacey Abrams, who was the Democratic nominee in Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial race. She has publicly kept the door open to being a nominee for vice president.
A spokesman for Biden did not return a request for comment.
“Everyone is pushing for their favorite woman,” a Wall Street investor close to Biden said. This person also described how corporate leaders are highlighting Harris’ experience as a senator and California’s attorney general.
Many who have spoken with campaign officials believe Harris is the front-runner, but these people also cautioned that it is still too early to tell whom Biden will choose.
People pushing Klobuchar, of Minnesota, have suggested that she would be able to garner support in Midwestern states, such as Wisconsin and Michigan, where the so-called Democratic “blue wall” fell to Trump.
Biden is still in a primary battle with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who doesn’t appear to be dropping out any time soon, even as the former vice president leads in the delegate count after several high-profile primary victories.
Meanwhile, Biden and his campaign have had to switch gears while the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through the country. In addition to his criticism of Trump’s response to the outbreak, Biden has started raising money through virtual events.
On Tuesday, Biden did an interview with “The View” remotely from his home in Delaware. He told the hosts his current list includes 12 to 15 women and that they are plan to cut it down to 11 people in the coming days.
“We are going to start vetting soon and there is a shortlist,” Biden said.