A lot of people might not have heard of Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat who is in the final stages of being vetted by the Joe Biden campaign as a possible vice presidential pick.
Bass odds are surging but she’s still a long shot, according to Bookies.com, which calculates betting odds.
Odds have California Sen. Kamala Harris in a solid lead. She’s the frontrunner with a huge -200 favorite. Harris shot up to solidly to top choice after a photo of Biden’s notes emerged on July 27 that showed talking points about Harris. Also, Politico inadvertently published a story that said Biden had picked Harris with a date of Aug. 1 on the article.
Harris had slipped in the past week from -134 to +125 before her recent surge.
Still, the odds can go up or down. Prior to July 27, Bass had shot up to +550. She has now slid back to +1200 at British bookmaker 888.
Of course, Harris and Bass are not the only women being vetted. Biden promised to choose a woman for the job. There’s also Susan Rice, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Val Demings, and Stacey Abrams.
Yet is has been Bass, 66, who suddenly got major attention. Since 2018, Bass has chaired the Congressional Black Caucus. This might be one reason she is on the shortlist. “Biden’s team is taking her seriously as a potential vice-presidential running mate. One theory is that she’s being vetted to help Biden win favor with the Congressional Black Caucus, which she chairs,” The Atlantic reported.
Bass seems to be liked by players in both parties. She’s drawn praise from some conservatives, including Washington Post columnist George Will, “who spoke highly of her calm demeanor,” and Jim Brulte, former chairman of the California Republican Party, AlterNet reported.
On the Democrat side, in a recent letter to Biden, a group of California delegates for Sen. Bernie Sanders cited Bass as a strong potential VP.
While the congresswoman from Los Angeles remains a long shot, the former physician’s assistant and nurse has risen in prominence on the political scene. Bass was a young organizer before going into health care and then founded a community group that worked to close or convert liquor stores in South Los Angeles during the rise of gangs and crack cocaine, Politico reported.
When she got into to politics, Bass was mentored by former Rep. Diane Watson, who, with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged a reluctant Bass to make her first run for the Assembly.
“The reason she’s gone from a name bandied about to a serious contender is because the more you look at her, the more you realize what a perfect choice for the time she is,” Villaraigosa told Politico. Villaraigosa started working with Bass in the early 1970s to coalesce Black and Latino activists around curbing police abuse and expanding immigrant rights.
Bass has already undergone a half-day intensive interview with Biden representatives and has advanced deep into the vice presidential process, said sources familiar with the vetting.
“Some of the people contacted by the Biden team about Bass said some of her personal qualities starkly contrast with Harris: that she’s persuasive but not flashy, and that she’s trusted by progressives but still respected by Republicans. These people describe Bass as passionate, yet not someone who would allow her own objectives to overshadow her responsibilities as Biden’s No. 2,” Politico reported.
Also part of Bass’s appeal is that she stands out from Harris. In fact, some are calling her “the anti-Kamala Harris.”
Many Democrats don’t want to see California Sen. Harris as the pick, though she has been at the top of Biden’s list of potential running mates since the spring.
Some Dem insiders were taken aback by Harris’s June 2019 debate attack on Biden’s opposition to a federal student busing program in the 1970s. She implied that Biden was soft on racism, though she later admitted her own opinion on the subject was actually in line with Biden’s.
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“I don’t think Kamala Harris has it in the bag,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told L.A. Magazine.
So now the spotlight seems to be traveling toward Bass. On July 30, she’s scheduled to take part in a campaign event alongside Biden, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and Rep. Cedric Richmond.
Biden said he will announce his VP pick the first week of August.
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