CT Democrats cheer selection of Kamala Harris as Biden’s running mate
Connecticut Democrats said they were excited by Joe Biden’s choice of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday, a move that made Harris the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket.
“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked Kamala Harris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden tweeted. In a text message to supporters, Biden said, “Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”
“I am tremendously excited about Kamala Harris as a candidate and future vice president,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. “I have worked with her closely as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and admire her insight, integrity, and dedication to justice. She is a historic choice and an absolutely wonderful person. I know that Americans across the country will be deeply impressed and inspired by Kamala as they come to know her as I do."
Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted: “Here’s what I’ve learned about my friend Kamala over the past 4 years: She’s got great instincts, and she trusts them. When she makes a promise, she keeps it. Friendship and family matter to her more than almost anything. If you’re in a fight, you want her in your foxhole.”
Gov. Ned Lamont, who has supported the Biden for months, said he’s proud of the Harris-Biden ticket.
“Senator Kamala Harris is a true leader and the kind of person who will be incredible for our country, by the side of my good friend Joe Biden,” Lamont said in a tweet.
Lamont, Murphy, Blumenthal, Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz held a virtual fundraiser for Biden last week. If they win, Bysiewicz said, Biden and Harris will restore “competence, compassion and character to the White House.
“I think [Harris] brings a very strong background of both executive experience running a very large attorney’s general office in California, along with a strong legislative record and I think she’s shown that she can be very strong on the debate stage,” Bysiewicz said. .
Greenwich resident Dita Bhargava, who hosted Harris at a fundraiser for her presidential campaign in town last September, praised the selection.
As a Black woman of south Asian descent, Bhargava said, Harris would be an inspiration to others, including her daughter.
“This is a historic and monumental day for our country at a time when we need to unify and sew divisions,” said Bhargava, who ran for state treasurer in 2018. “Any of the women on Joe Biden’s short list would have been an incredible choice. But I am ecstatic with tears of joy to see Kamala Harris chosen as a partner in this race.”
As Democrats praised the choice, J.R. Romano, the Republican state chairman, expressed skepticism.
“I can understand strategically why he picked Kamala Harris,” said Romano, citing two missteps in this campaign cycle, in which Biden had to backtrack or apologize for the way he characterized African American voters - including the quip to Black voters that if they couldn’t decide between him and Presidemt Donald Trump, “you ain’t Black.”
“If I were him I might have selected someone from a swing state,” Romano said. “She’s also is a flawed candidate as well.”
Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington.
In choosing Harris, Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.
Harris joins Biden in the 2020 race at a moment of unprecedented national crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in the U.S., far more than the toll experienced in other countries. Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused an economic collapse. Unrest, meanwhile, has emerged across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.
Trump’s uneven handling of the crises has given Biden an opening, and he enters the fall campaign in strong position against the president. In adding Harris to the ticket, he can point to her relatively centrist record on issues such as health care and her background in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.
Trump said Tuesday night Harris was his “number one draft pick” for Biden’s running mate because he believes she will be a liberal flop. He claimed Harris wanted to raise taxes and slash funds for the military, while criticizing her for saying “horrible things” and being “extraordinarily nasty” to Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings and to Biden himself during the primary debates.
“We’ll see how she works out. She did very very poorly in the primaries,” Trump said. “I was a little surprised that [Biden] picked her.”
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale School of Management senior associate dean and expert on leadership, said on CNBC that Biden’s choice of Harris was telling.
“She’s an excellent choice,” said Sonnenfeld, an adviser to Lamont as well as Biden, Trump (before the presidency) and former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. “It’s a great lesson for CEOs to pick somebody as a partner who isn’t necessarily going to be a sycophant. As we saw, she kind of knocked the wind out of him in an early debate. Rather than hold a grudge, they’ve tried to figure out how to learn from that.”
Sonnenfeld was referring to a debate in which Harris said Biden made “very hurtful” comments about his past work with segregationist senators. She slammed his opposition to busing as schools began to integrate in the 1970s.
“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”
Shaken by the attack, Biden called her comments “a mis-characterization of my position.”
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Sonnenfeld had advised former President Barack Obama.
This story includes reporting from the Associated Press. Greenwich Time reporter Ken Borsuk and Hearst Columnist Dan Haar contributed to this story.