More than 300 delegates to the Democratic National Convention and members of the Democratic National Committee have signed on to a statement pushing Joe Biden to choose Rep. Karen Bass as a “unity” vice presidential pick, POLITICO has learned.
The lobbying effort, which comes days before the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is expected to unveil his running mate, makes the case that the congresswoman would help bring the party together.
The endorsement comes as Bass has come under fire for past remarks praising Scientology and calling former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro “comandante en jefe,” or commander in chief. Some of her supporters have argued that she is being redbaited and targeted because she has won endorsements from the progressive left.
“We, delegates to the DNC for Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and others, believe Congresswoman Karen Bass is the best choice among vice presidential candidates under consideration to help unify our party and move our nation forward,” the announcement reads. “We urge Vice President Biden to choose her to join the ticket.”
Biden has a total of 2,632 delegates, while Bernie Sanders has 1,076, according to POLITICO’s delegates tracker.
Bass, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, has emerged as a leading contender for Biden’s vice presidential choice. Several prominent progressives have expressed admiration for Bass in recent weeks, including some who backed Bernie Sanders during the primary.
Dolores Huerta, a labor icon who endorsed Kamala Harris in the primary, publicly threw her weight behind Bass. Nina Turner, former co-chair of Sanders’ 2020 campaign, signed on to the statement too.
“Congresswoman Bass would make an excellent vice president,” Turner said. “Her commitment to the grassroots is evident in her work from activist to the California legislature to the Congress. She has a record of building coalitions, especially during turbulent times, and this skill set is absolutely needed in this critical moment in our nation’s history. Moreover, she brings a strong progressive voice to the table that speaks to the future of America.”
Rep. Ro Khanna, another former Sanders co-chair, said Bass “is a healer at a time the nation needs a healer,” though he did not sign on to the pro-Bass statement and had previously endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren for vice president.