In a major breakthrough for Indian-Americans in US politics, Joe Biden has picked Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate to woo the black voters and the influential Indian diaspora who could play a key role in his bid to defeat Donald Trump in the presidential election.
By naming the 55-year-old lawyer and moderate Democratic politician from California as his vice presidential candidate in the November 3 election, Biden made history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket.
Harris, whose father is from Jamaica and mother an Indian, is currently the Senator from California.
Biden, 77, made the announcement in a text message to his supporters on Tuesday, ending days of suspense.
“Joe Biden here. I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate. Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump. Add your name to welcome her to the team,” Biden said in his message.
Biden said Harris will be the best partner for him to finally get the country back on track. He described her as “a fearless fighter” and “one of the country's finest public servants”.
Harris later tweeted that Biden “can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals.”
“I’m honoured to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”
Harris, based in California, a massive treasure trove of both Democratic votes and Democratic donors. She also emerged as an outspoken voice on race and the need for police reform following the death of George Floyd in May and the subsequent protests it sparked around the country.
Leading Indian-American groups across the US have lauded the selection of Harris, saying it was a moment of pride and celebration for the entire community in America.
An estimated 1.3 million Indian-Americans are expected to vote in the election, including nearly 200,000 in Pennsylvania and 125,000 in Michigan, both must-win battleground states.
In 2016, some 77 per cent of Indian-Americans voted for the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, according to figures released by CRW Strategy, a research firm.