Sen. Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack remain two of the leading contenders for Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick, but Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is also under active consideration for her ticket, according to a Democrat with knowledge of the process.
Booker, a freshman senator and former mayor of Newark, has drawn relatively little attention throughout Clinton’s vice-presidential selection process, but has remained as a serious prospect. He was among the roughly half-dozen potential running mates who met with Clinton at her home in Washington on Friday.
He has been dispatched to Cleveland to participate late Thursday morning in a news conference “to denounce the divisive rhetoric surrounding Donald Trump’s Republican convention,” according to an advisory by the Clinton campaign. That rhetoric has included calls among delegates to “lock her up.”
Booker’s presence in the final group keeps a person of color in the mix following a search that includes Hispanics and one woman, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
The Democrat familiar with the process emphatically denied that Booker remains in contention because he is black. Booker has impressed Clinton for his work as mayor of Newark and as a bold thinker and risk taker.
The Hispanic finalists, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Housing Secretary Julián Castro, have not been told they are out of the running but, after conversations with Clinton, came away with the impression that they were unlikely to be picked, Democrats said.
Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, could announce her running mate sometime on Friday. Early in the day, she is scheduled to appear in Orlando, the site of last month’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub, making it unlikely that an announcement would come before that event.
Kaine is a former governor and former Democratic National Committee chairman. Vilsack served two terms as governor of Iowa before joining the Obama cabinet.
Kaine is attending two events in the Washington suburbs of Northern Virginia on Thursday and has no events scheduled Friday. Vilsack is on a two-day swing through Missouri to discuss the opioid epidemic. He is expected to return to Washington on Friday at about 5 p.m.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · John Wagner, Anne Gearan