By Zack Budryk
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D) advised Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to “politely decline” any offer to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate.
Brown wrote that the vice presidency would likely hinder any further political ambitions for Harris.
“Historically, the vice presidency has often ended up being a dead end. For every George H.W. Bush, who ascended from the job to the presidency, there’s an Al Gore, who never got there,” Brown wrote in an op-ed for the San Francisco Examiner.
Brown, who served as mayor from 1996 to 2004, has said he briefly dated Harris while she was an Alameda County, Calif., deputy district attorney. As Speaker of the California Assembly, he later appointed her to positions on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the California Medical Assistance Commission.
The former mayor further noted that Biden and his vice president would almost certainly take office amid a continued economic downturn. “The next few years promise to be a very bumpy ride,” he wrote. “Barack Obama and the Democrats saved the nation from economic collapse when he took office, and their reward was a blowout loss in the 2010 midterm elections.”
Brown suggested Harris could be more effective, and better positioned for an ongoing political career, as U.S. attorney general.
“Given the department’s current disarray under William Barr, just showing up and being halfway sane will make the new AG a hero,” he wrote. “Best of all, being attorney general would give Harris enough distance from the White House to still be a viable candidate for the top slot in 2024 or 2028, no matter what the state of the nation.”
Biden has promised to name a woman as his running mate. In addition to Harris, other contenders reportedly include Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), former national security adviser Susan Rice and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).