Culver City Edition Lead Story Politics West Edition

Rep. Karen Bass makes Biden’s list as potential VP candidate

LOS ANGELES — Add Rep. Karen Bass to the list of potential vice president candidates being considered by Joe Biden’s search team.

Bass, who has represented parts of Los Angeles in the U.S. House of Representatives for a decade and has led the Congressional Black Caucus since last year, is one of the more recent additions to the pool of candidates that Biden is considering to be his running mate, a sign that he would like more options to consider in a process that he and his campaign have said will likely end in August, Bloomberg News reported June 24.

The congresswoman has more experience in government than many of the other contenders, including first-term California Sen. Kamala Harris, former national security adviser Susan Rice and second-term Florida Rep. Val Demings. Second-term Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are also still in the mix.

But Bass has a much lower national profile than Harris and Warren, as well as other women whom Biden is considering. She also has not had the media scrutiny and public vetting that Harris and Warren faced during their own bids for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

One of the people pushing Bass for consideration is House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who has represented South Carolina in Congress since 1993.

“Karen Bass would be a big plus,” Clyburn told CNN earlier this month. “She is a great person in my mind. I work with her every day.”

A native of Los Angeles, she founded the Community Coalition in the late 1980s to fight the proliferation of liquor stores in South Los Angeles. 

In 2004 she was elected to the state Assembly. Four years later she became the first African-American woman to serve as Assembly speaker.

She was elected to Congress in 2010

George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police last month and the racial unrest that followed have led to increased pressure for Biden to choose a Black woman. In addition to Bass, Harris, Demings and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms are among the Black women who are still engaged in the vetting process. CBS News first reported that Bass was being vetted.

The 2020 vice presidential nominee decision also has taken on added weight given that Biden, who turns 78 in November, will be the oldest president ever sworn in if he wins the election.