California Sen. Kamala Harris has made an unusual fundraising move that is sure to fuel speculation about her prospects to be Joe Biden’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.
Harris, who dropped out of the White House race in December, has set up the kind of arrangement with the Democratic National Committee that is typically reserved for nominees trying to attract large donations from the party’s biggest boosters.
Harris, 55, will host her first virtual fundraiser Thursday under the new agreement. It allows contributors to give the maximum of $357,800, with $2,800 going to retire Harris’ presidential campaign debts and the rest going to the national party.
The senator and the DNC filed paperwork for the arrangement Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, in the first deal of this kind for Democrats this election cycle. Biden and the party chairman, Tom Perez, had been hesitant to enter into the arrangement while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was still actively campaigning against Biden. But Sanders suspended his campaign Wednesday, making Biden the presumptive nominee.
Party officials did not say whether they have asked other former candidates for a similar fundraising arrangement, but that could become moot now that Biden no longer must navigate Sanders as a rival. Regardless, it’s a testament to Harris’ good standing among some of the party’s top donors.
Harris has tried to sidestep speculation about joining the Democratic ticket. “I know that conversation is taking place in the press and among the pundits, and I’m honored to even be considered, if that’s the case,” Harris said Wednesday on ABC’s “The View”
Biden has committed to selecting a woman as his running mate, and there’s a considerable push in the party for him to select a woman of color, recognizing both black women’s place as anchors of Biden’s coalition and the rising influence of Hispanic voters. Harris is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants.
Biden praised Harris when she ended her presidential bid. He said she was qualified to be president or vice president and noted that the former prosecutor could be an able attorney general or Supreme Court justice. His aides have dismissed any notion that hard feelings carried over from Harris’ aggressive attacks on Biden in a June presidential primary debate.
Harris said on ABC that she has “a great deal of affection” for Biden and believes “he’ll be an extraordinary president.”