Sen. Tammy Baldwin 'certainly would' be Biden's running mate if asked

Should Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, choose the Wisconsin senator, she would be the first openly gay vice presidential nominee.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., leaves a luncheon at the Capitol on Sept. 7, 2016.Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via AP file
By Tim Fitzsimons

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., confirmed that she would serve as Joe Biden's running mate if the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee were to ask her.

During Baldwin's appearance on ABC's "The View" Thursday, co-host Whoopi Goldberg noted that “rumors are flying" that Baldwin has "been interviewed at length" to be Biden's vice presidential pick.

“Would you take it if it were offered? Does it scare you at all?” Goldberg asked.

Baldwin was quick to definitively answer a question that has followed her for months: “If he were to ask me to be his running mate, I certainly would."

If selected, Baldwin would be the first openly gay vice presidential nominee.

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Reflecting on LGBTQ Pride Month, which is celebrated in June, Baldwin recounted her long career as a pioneering openly lesbian elected official. She was out in 1986 when she won her first election to serve on Wisconsin’s Dane County Board of Supervisors at the age of 24. Baldwin later served in the Wisconsin Assembly and represented Madison.

When she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999, she was Wisconsin’s first female member of Congress and the first openly gay nonincumbent elected to the House. When Baldwin won a seat in the Senate in 2012, she became that body’s first out gay member, too.

“I have always sought not to make history but to make a difference," Baldwin said while reflecting on her series of historic wins. She also noted that those who have voted for her "understand that I am there fighting for them on the issues that concern us all."

Baldwin also reflected on the “wonderful” Supreme Court decision in the Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia case. The high court, in a 6-3 decision last week, ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"This was such a desired outcome, and I think sends a very very strong message for all of those especially in the LGBTQ community who live in communities that don’t have laws protecting them in employment," Baldwin said.

Baldwin said the next step is to pass the Equality Act, a bill she co-sponsored that would amend civil rights laws pertaining to employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs and credit by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to their lists of protected classes.

"We need to do that because this decision," she said of Bostock, "is limited to the employment context, and yet discrimination in housing, public accommodations, education, other facets of life that are so important still exist."

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What Baldwin pulled off in her 2018 Senate election makes her particularly interesting to the Biden campaign, which views Wisconsin as vital to winning more than 270 votes in the Electoral College, according to NBC News.

In 2016, President Donald Trump flipped Wisconsin into the Republican column for the first time since President Ronald Reagan did in 1984 — but a mere two years later, Baldwin defeated Republican candidate Leah Vukmir in a “landslide.”

In March, Biden committed to pick a woman as a running mate. Among those his campaign is said to also be vetting are Stacey Abrams of Georgia; Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.

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Tim Fitzsimons