A growing number of contenders to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential nominee indicated Thursday that they’ve advanced to a round of intense vetting, suggesting that a shortlist for the slot is taking shape.
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., has formally begun interviewing with the Biden campaign for the vice presidential nomination and that the vetting process is underway, a source with direct knowledge told NBC News Thursday.
“We’re definitely on a list,” the source said.
Demings, D-Fla., in an interview with SiriusXM’s “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” said Wednesday night she was on “the shortlist” to be Biden’s vice presidential nominee, saying that she’d accept the job if offered.
“If Vice President Biden asked me to serve along with him, I would be honored to do just that,” she said.
Demings has represented an Orlando-area district — a key territory in the critical battleground state of Florida — since 2017. Earlier in her career, she was the police chief of Orlando. She also served as a House manager during the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, CBS News reported that Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was asked by the Biden campaign to undergo a formal vetting for consideration for the veep slot.
Klobuchar ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but dropped out in March to endorse Biden.
Earlier Thursday, NBC News reported that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., had declined a request from Biden’s presidential campaign to be vetted as a potential running mate.
The Biden team's interest in Shaheen was first reported by Manchester, N.H., ABC affiliate WMUR, which also reported that Maggie Hassan, the state’s other Democratic senator, has agreed to be vetted by the Biden campaign for consideration for the vice presidential nomination.
Earlier this week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer disclosed that she has been in touch with Biden’s team. During a "Today" interview Tuesday she said, “it was just an opening conversation.”
If elected, Biden, 77, would be the oldest-ever president-elect, which has put an intense focus on his pick for vice president. Biden has spoken often of seeing himself as a transitional presidential, leading many politics-watchers to believe that his running mate could eventually be the leader of the Democratic Party and, if Biden won in 2020, the likely Democratic nominee in 2024.
Biden has said he expects the vetting process to take five to eight weeks, which would point to an announcement occurring no sooner than July.
“They're now in the process of thoroughly examining a group of women, all of whom are capable in my view of being president. And there's about a dozen of them,” Biden said during a virtual fundraiser last week.
In March, She the People, an influential group of women of color, released an internal poll showing that Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia state House, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., were the leading Democratic vice presidential picks among their members.
Other women who have been frequently mentioned by politicians, strategists and voters include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.