WASHINGTON — You can divide Joe Biden’s top VP contenders into two groups: The female senators and governors whose job vacancies could cause headaches for their party if Biden picks them as his running mate.
Versus those who have day jobs that are less problematic.
Let’s start with Elizabeth Warren, who brings plenty of strengths to the table (helps with progressive voters, has plenty of plans and ideas, especially in this Coronavirus Era).
But maybe her top liability as Biden’s VP is current Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who could pick a Republican as her temporary replacement in the Senate — potentially complicating the Democrats' math of winning back the Senate.
Under Massachusetts law, the governor must call for a special election 145 to 160 days after a vacancy, and the governor gets to pick a replacement to serve in the interim – which means that Dems might not get that Senate seat back until months after a Biden presidency begins.
Now Democrats have a couple of ways around this vacancy law. One, Warren could announce her resignation as soon as she’s picked to shorten the window for any Republican replacement.
Two, Massachusetts Dems (who have a supermajority in the legislature) could simply rewrite — again — its Senate vacancy law and compel Baker to select a Democrat to replace Warren.
But bottom line: Warren, Biden and Massachusetts Dems will have to make quick moves if she’s the pick.
Then there’s current Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who’s been dealing with the coronavirus — as well as protests by conservatives — in her state.
If Whitmer resigns her office to become Biden’s VP, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, who’s a Democrat, would become governor for the rest of Whitmer’s term (he’d also become the state’s first-ever African-American governor).
Still, Biden taking Whitmer away from her important day job in this battleground state would be quite an ask during this pandemic.
And then for another top possibility for Biden, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the problem is her side job as the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is trying to win back the Senate for the party.
For Biden, it’s possible that picking Warren, Whitmer or Cortez Masto outweighs those challenges.
But it’s also obvious that other vice presidential possibilities like Kamala Harris or Amy Klobuchar — who are senators instead of governors and who hail from states with Dem governors — don’t have those same day-job challenges.
Trump passes the leadership buck to others
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Post writes that President Trump has acted more like a salesman or marketer — rather than a decider.
“Many consequential actions are being done by others. The nation’s governors are overseeing their states’ plans to reopen their economies. Business leaders are making their own choices about how their employees can safely and responsibly return to work. Treasury officials are negotiating with Congress the details of financial stimulus packages. And scientists and public health officials are leading the race for a vaccine.”
And: “The United States under Trump has also retreated from its historic position of global leadership, declining, for instance, to participate in a coronavirus summit with other nations earlier this month.”
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Data Download: The numbers you need to know today
1,500,045: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 69,478 more than Friday morning.)
90,190: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 3,286 more than Friday morning).
11.50 million: The number of coronavirus TESTS that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.
At least a third: The share of coronavirus fatalities that have occurred in long-term care facilities in 26 states, with the share in 14 of those states surpassing 50 percent, according to recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
More than 100: The number of countries pushing for an investigation of the WHO’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
About 50 percent: The decrease in new vehicle sales in April.
Eight to 14 minutes: How long coronavirus-transmitting droplets produced by talking can remain in the air, according to a new study.
2020 Vision: Meet Biden VP possibility Val Demings
In our continued look at the various contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate, we today examine Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., whose stock is on the rise, per Politico.
Strengths: As an African-American woman, Demings would fulfill some activists’ explicit request that Biden pick a woman of color. She not only hails from battleground Florida; she’s from the swing Orlando area and was the former police chief there. (Her husband, also a former police chief and sheriff, is the current mayor of Orange County, Fla.) She recently gained national visibility as one of the Democratic impeachment managers against President Trump.
Weaknesses: Demings is 63 years old, younger than Biden but not younger than other VP contenders. She hasn’t won or run for statewide office in Florida. And her more moderate record, as well as her membership in the moderate New Democrat Coalition and her law-enforcement background, might turn off some progressives.
Other potential oppo hits: In 2009, while service as police chief, Demings was censured after her gun was stolen in a burglary of her agency SUV. And during her tenure as chief, her department faced complaints of excessive force and a lack of transparency.
On Capitol Hill this week
The House chamber will look quiet this week, following the House’s proxy vote rules change on Friday. The lower chamber of Congress won’t be back in session until May 27, but Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters that despite the new voting rules, there’s a chance House members will continue to meet in person for committee hearings: “We’ll have, perhaps some committee meetings here, but we have to do the distancing you know so we can’t have too many committees meeting because we need large spaces.”
And over in the Senate, Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe's nomination to be the next director of national intelligence is expected to clear the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, per NBC’s Capitol Hill team. The nomination will be then sent to the full Senate for a vote. Sen. Richard Burr, the now-former Chair of the Intelligence Committee will still be present at Tuesday’s hearing to vote in favor of Ratcliffe.
On coronavirus legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not said if he will bring the House’s $3 trillion package up for consideration. Here’s McConnell last week: "I think we all believe that another bill probably is going to be necessary,” he said. “But I'm not prepared today to put a precise date on when that will be.”
The Lid: Don’t quit your day job
Don’t miss the pod from Friday, when we first took a look at the Biden VP possibilities who hold current jobs that could hurt their chances of being picked.
ICYMI: What else is happening in the world
Here’s what we know about the probe into Mike Pompeo that the now-removed State Department inspector general had launched.
Nancy Pelosi says she has no “red lines” when it comes to another round of coronavirus relief funding.
Justin Amash won’t run for president after all.
President Trump is heading to Pennsylvania this week.
Republicans are planning a huge effort to conduct poll-watching in November.
If Democrats hold a big convention, will anyone actually come?
Elizabeth Warren spoke out about her brother’s death from coronavirus.
And today, progressive groups such as Color Of Change PAC, Community Change Action, Planned Parenthood Votes, and the SEIU are launching a $30 million campaign — entitled “Win Justice” — to mobilize at least 3 million voters of color, young people, women, and union supporters in the battleground states of Florida, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.