Sources close to the process are telling NBC News that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is among those still under serious consideration as a VP mate for Joe Biden.
Democrats with knowledge of the process tell NBC News Whitmer did not just re-emerge as a potential vice presidential pick, but had long remained in the top tier for the only person with a vote in the process: Biden himself.
As Biden appears to be readying for final one-on-one conversations with potential running mates as the reported short list focused on four African American women — Kamala Harris, Karen Bass, Susan Rice, and Val Demings, as well as Elizabeth Warren.
Top labor leaders in Michigan have said the Biden campaign began reaching out to state chapters of the UAW, AFL-CIO and Teamsters about Whitmer as early as January, but intensified lately as the process has advanced.
Senior Biden campaign officials in recent days have clarified that Whitmer’s management of the COVID-19 crisis has earned their respect for her steady hand in the face of strong opposition.
The Biden campaign continues to navigate a strong lobbying effort for him to choose a woman of color.
Whitmer, notably, held a press conference Wednesday to announce a pair of executive orders focused on racial justice, including a “first of its kind” advisory council to address racism within state government, and one recognizing racism as a public health crisis. She was joined in the announcement by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, who, if Whitmer were to become vice president, would become Michigan’s first, and the nation’s only Black governor.
The Biden campaign has also long viewed the recipe for success for the party in the 2018 midterms as their blueprint in 2020 — particularly significant turnout for Democratic candidates among women voters in suburban, swing districts. Whitmer was one of those successful candidates as she won her seat by nearly 10 points. Biden campaigned with her that September. She returned the favor in the presidential race, endorsing him in March ahead of her state’s key primary and becoming a national campaign co-chair.