Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator who ran a longer-than-expected campaign for her party’s presidential nomination, is withdrawing from the veepstakes. The Midwest Democrat famously exited the Democratic primary and endorsed Joe Biden the same day, helping him win a massive victory in Minnesota and clearing Biden’s path to the Democratic nomination.
Immediately, speculation grew that Klobuchar had either made an agreement with the former Vice President or was at least one of Biden’s favorites to become his running-mate in the general election. As a pragmatic moderate from a must-win region of the country, pundits agreed that Klobuchar could be a great addition to the Biden presidential ticket. She’s someone who could help Democrats win back states like Wisconsin and Michigan, which helped elect Donald Trump in 2016.
But Klobuchar’s record as a district attorney has fallen under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, as her home state has become the epicenter of the national dialogue. On Memorial Day, a white police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, triggering weeks of protest and demand for racial justice across the country. The Minneapolis City Council even announced it would dismantle its existing police department, and develop a prototype for equitable, modern law enforcement.
Meanwhile, instances from Klobuchar’s career as a prosecutor have resurfaced, drawing criticism from many on the political left. Klobuchar rose to the District Attorney’s office on a tough-on-crime platform, and failed to bring charges against several officers involved in shootings during her seven years as a prosecutor. Her hopes of becoming Biden’s number-two have only dwindled since George Floyd’s death.
But on Thursday, Klobuchar told Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC that she no longer wanted to be considered for the job. Biden’s running-mate, she said, ought to be a woman of color.
“America must seize on this moment and I truly believe, as I actually told the VP last night when I called him, that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket,” Klobuchar said. “And there are so many incredible, qualified women but if you want to heal this nation right now—my party, yes, but our nation—this is sure a hell of a way to do it.”
For his part, Biden tweeted words of encouragement to his Minnesota ally, writing that she was still crucial in the fight to “beat Donald Trump.”
“From the moment you announced you were running for president in a snowstorm, it wasn’t hard to see you had the grit and determination to do anything you set your mind to,” Biden said. “You know how to get things done.”