Democrat VP Betting: Which woman will Biden pick?

This article first appeared on 10th April 2020 at

Now Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign, the way is clear for Joe Biden to secure the Democratic Nomination. The former VP is now rated a [1.1] chance to be his party’s candidate. If you’re wondering why he’s even that high, that can only be explained by the relentless theories sweeping the internet about him dislodged before or at the party convention in August.

Leaving aside that highly improbable scenario, we can now fully focus upon whom Biden will pick as a running mate. He’s already confirmed it will be a woman. Only one man – former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney – is trading at less than [100.0]. So whom should be we be backing?

Harris hot favourite after latest Biden hint

A clear favourite has emerged – Kamala Harris was backed into [2.34] yesterday after Biden talked her up at a virtual event, saying “I’m coming for you kid.” That tease merely adds substance to earlier speculation.

Her case is obvious. An early favourite for the nomination, Harris is a heavyweight and one of his most prominent surrogates. Black women are a core part of the Democrat base – and must turn out in bigger numbers than 2016 for Biden to win. She balances the ticket.

I’m far from convinced though, and suspect the market may be misreading these comments. Biden also committed during the last debate nominating a woman of colour to the Supreme Court. The California Senator is obvious for that role.

Electorally, it is less obvious what she has to offer. California is an ultra-safe Democrat state and, given how well funded the Harris primary campaign was, her performance was dismal. It surely makes better sense to pick somebody from a state that will be in play in November.

Abrams must be shortlisted

At a push, Georgia could go blue and the party’s losing gubernatorial candidate – a victim of blatant gerrymandering in their 2018 election – is a rising star, popular across the party. The Democrats chose Stacey Abrams to rebut President Trump’s State of the Union speech in 2019 and, significantly, she has swerved this year’s Senate race.

Abrams was my long range fancy and remains shortlisted. However I’ve cooled for two reasons. First, simply the surprising lack of noise about her chance. Second, perhaps on reflection her lack of governing experience would be a weakness – the VP must be somebody who could step into the role of President at short notice. Especially given Biden’s age.

One other black woman is on my radar – Val Demings at [40.0]. She represents a district in the pivotal swing state of Florida and was mentioned early in VP speculation. However she lacks the profile of others higher up the betting so remains unlikely.

Mid-West candidates make most sense

Plus the gain from picking a black woman may be somewhat illusory, given Biden’s popularity with the black community. It may therefore be better to focus on the Mid-West and Rust Belt states that will prove decisive in November. That lies behind my main bet to date, from a couple of weeks back.

This is precisely the sort of fight Trump must avoid in November, in a state that is pivotal to his re-election chances, but that has reverted to blue since 2016 – Whitmer won 53% of the vote. Having her on the ticket would be great optics – a female Governor fighting her state’s corner against the President. No wonder Biden invited her on to his podcast.

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