Biden reportedly debates tapping Stacey Abrams as running mate from the start – could it backfire?

It’s the talk of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Joe Biden’s top political advisers reportedly are debating whether the former vice president should launch a White House bid by pledging to choose a running mate.


And that running mate, according to a report from Axios, could be Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia. The former minority leader in the state’s House of Representatives nearly became the nation’s first black female governor and the first Democrat to win a gubernatorial election in Georgia in two decades, but lost the election.

The new speculation comes after Biden and Abrams had a private sit-down earlier this month, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Abrams has been weighing her own political future, which could include a 2020 Senate bid, a 2022 run for governor again, or even possibly her own White House bid. Abrams is considered a quickly rising star in the party and earlier this year gave the Democratic response to Republican President Trump’s State of the Union address.

Abrams would bring diversity to the ticket, and some of Biden’s advisers – according to Axios – feel the move would add excitement to the former vice president’s campaign. And they feel that pointing to the 45-year old Abrams as a running mate could blunt concerns over the 76-year old Biden’s age.


Sources close to Biden have told Fox News that the former vice president is likely next month to announce his campaign, which would be his third stab at trying to win the presidency. And in the past two weeks, Biden’s strongly hinted that he would be running.

While the former vice president has reportedly discussed naming a running mate early, it’s not known if he’s signed off on the suggestion of coming out of the gate with a pledge to name a number two on his ticket.

“It would certainly be something unique, something different. It would send a strong message,” said Mo Elleithee, the founding executive director of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service and a Fox News contributor.

But there are downsides as well. The strategy could be seen as a gimmick that the former vice president needs to stand out in a large Democratic 2020 field, and Biden could be seen as having “an air of inevitability.” And it could raise the question of whether Biden feels out of step with the current political climate, concerned about decades-old political positions the longtime senator from Delaware held that now are unpopular among Democrats.

“I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think he should feel it’s something he has to do. At the end of the day he’ll go out there and make his own case,” explained Elleithee, a senior spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who later served as communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

“He may choose to name a running mate before the end of the primary season but I don’t he needs to feel compelled to do it on day one. I think that could actually detract a bit from a bigger message,” Elleithee added.