SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's the big question mark left in the 2020 presidential race: Who will be former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate?
With just days until he's expected to make the announcement, it remains a very real possibility he chooses someone from California. Both Senator Kamala Harris and Los Angeles Congresswoman Karen Bass are on the short-list. (Congresswoman Val Demings, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Senator Elizabeth Warren are also reportedly among the likely candidates.)
In the Bay Area, there is growing speculation about whether Senator Harris, who grew up in Berkeley, could be selected for the spot. Democrats in support of her believe she checks all the necessary boxes: She has name recognition, experience on a national stage, has fundraising strength and she's a woman of color.
"I think she's the best choice," Bay Area fundraiser Tom McInerney told ABC7 News. "I think she is because she's been vetted and served in significant roles...and run some really tough campaigns. I think there isn't anything they can really throw at her."
Debbie Mesloh is a longtime friend and advisor to Harris who worked with her on her very first San Francisco District Attorney race in 2003. She is frustrated by critics who have reportedly said Harris is too ambitious and have questioned her loyalty.
"I'm very disheartened that there's been criticism around her ambition. I feel like without ambitious women we probably wouldn't have the right to vote. We wouldn't have some of the biggest movements we've seen throughout the country," Mesloh said.
But not everyone sees Harris has the strongest choice.
For Biden, a big factor is enthusiasm and attracting young voters. Brandon Harami is the head of the San Francisco Berniecrats. He's hoping Biden picks Congresswoman Bass.
"She's been a strong advocate for medicare-for-all, a strong advocate for criminal justice reform," Harami explained. "If Joe Biden really wants to reach out to progressives to make sure we turn out, he needs to excite us, and I think someone like Karen Bass would be an exciting VP candidate for us to get behind."
Some strategists say Biden needs to walk a fine line: Pick someone who brings energy to the ticket but who is also attractive to moderate voters.
Tim Miller is a veteran political operative in Oakland who is currently running a group called Republicans Against Trump.
"These voters are just looking to be reinforced that Joe Biden's not going to pick somebody that is going to push him to the far left, the AOC wing of the party, right?" Miller said, "And Kamala doesn't do that. So, I think that if Biden picks someone like Kamala Harris to be the VP he is still very much in play to win over these voters."
Miller believes Harris and Sen. Duckworth make the most sense politically, but says Biden may look at other factors. For one, his close and longtime friendship with Susan Rice.
"Biden knows her. I think that could be a choice he goes with," he said, "And it's not a political consideration at all."
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