Despite calls growing louder among Democrats to defund the police, former Orlando police chief and Florida Rep.Val Demings is rising on Joe Biden’s shortlist of vice presidential contenders.
Weeks of protests are ongoing after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody triggered calls for police reform and defunding.
Black Lives Matter activists say Demings is a non-starter as veep, New York Post reported.
California Sen. Kamala Harris is in the No. 1 spot for V.P. among oddsmakers in the U.K., where election betting is legal, according to Bookies.com. Harris remains the favorite at +100. Election betting is illegal in the U.S.
Demings is tied for second place among oddsmakers with Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s former national security advisor and a former U.N. ambassador. Rice recently shot up the odds to be Biden’s running mate,
Hawk Newsome, chairman of Black Lives Matter, Greater New York chapter, said he would prefer to see Michelle Obama or former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams as Joe Biden’s vice president.
Rice and Demings were tied at +500 in odds posted over the weekend at 888sports, a U.K.-facing betting site. On Friday, Rice was +2500 to be Biden’s running mate before reports emerged that she was one of six women now seen as serious contenders on a shortlist.
Others who made shortlist include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Demings, 63, is a two-term Florida congresswoman wha has said publicly that she’s interested in the V.P. job.
“She’s fresh and new, seems better on TV than Kamala (Harris). I think right now she’s got an outside but decent shot at VP,” a Biden campaign insider told The Post.
But there are things in Demings’ record that some people won’t like, the insider said. During her 27 years in the Orlando Police Department, Demings rose from beat cop to the first woman chief. She worked every job in the department including public information officer and internal affairs supervisor before becoming police chief in 2007. She retired four years later.
While police chief, Demings repeatedly defended the actions of officers in excessive-force controversies and she questioned the value of bystander videos in an op-ed to the Orlando Sentinel.
“Looking for a negative story in a police department is like looking for a prayer at church,” Demings wrote. “I believe a reasonable person also understands that a few seconds (even on video) rarely capture the entire set of circumstances.”
That argument feels like a slap in the face after Floyd’s eight-minute 45-second suffocation by police was seen around the world.
“Joe Biden would be an idiot to put her on his ticket,” Newsome told The Post. “People are already on the fence about him. When black people become police officers, they are no longer black. They are blue. And I have been told this by numerous officers.”
However, some Democratic Party insiders argue that the Black community would trust an African American woman. Demings could “split the difference” between moderates looking to get support from law-and-order voters and activists demanding a Black woman running mate, The Post reported.
“The left flank which is the very loud but very small minority that is pissed on Twitter about everything are going to hate whoever (Biden) picks,” a Senate insider told The Post. “The African American community isn’t going to be inclined to distrust a black woman.”
Harris has held the No. 1 veep position for months among gamblers who seek out U.K-based bookies to play a little action on American politics, according to FloridaPolitics.com.
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However, Harris’ years as a prosecutor should also disqualify her as a veep candidate, according to Newsome.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has fallen to 12-1 odds, Florida Politics reported. Her supporters tried desperately over the weekend to convince everyone she had nothing to do with the 2008 Minnesota grand jury decision not to bring charges against Derek ChauvinChauvin — the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck until he died.
Demings has expressed outrage about Floyd’s death and harshly criticized Donald Trump’s responses.
Community activist Al Sharpton wants the former vice president to select Abrams, the party’s 2018 nominee for governor of Georgia.
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