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Democrats praise Harris VP pick

Updated August 11, 2020 - 6:10 pm

Nevada Democratic leaders praised presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday, saying Harris will bring a familiarity with Nevada and other Western states’ strengths and challenges to the party’s ticket.

Harris campaigned extensively in Nevada during her own presidential bid from mid-2019 until December, and she’s been a regular fixture on the trail for the state’s Democratic officials, including Sen. Jacky Rosen. She also worked alongside Nevada lawmakers as California’s attorney general.

Former Senate Majority Harry Reid said in a statement he was “elated” with Biden’s choice, saying Harris “brings incredible experience to the ticket as well as a valuable Western voice.”

“I’ve seen her hold members of this administration accountable as a U.S. senator, watched her take on the big banks as California’s attorney general during the 2008 financial crisis and witnessed an admirable campaign for the people when she ran for president,” Reid said of Harris.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, herself a rumored early candidate for Biden’s running mate, tweeted he “hit a home run” with Harris, whom she called “fearless, intelligent and compassionate.”

Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted that Harris “is a fighter to the core.”

“She and Joe will make a big difference for working families across the nation,” Sisolak tweeted.

More praise from Nevada Democrats

Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II said Harris, as the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father who immigrated to the United States, “represents the diversity of the West and of America.”

“As the first Black woman and first Asian-American selected to the position, Sen. Harris’ nomination is nothing short of historic,” he said. “She built a career breaking glass ceilings while leaving no hard-working American behind.”

Rosen said Nevada knows the power of women’s leadership, having elected the country’s first majority-women Legislature in 2018.

“Now, we have the opportunity to make even more history and elect my friend Kamala Harris to be the first woman vice president in America’s history,” Rosen added.

Rep. Dina Titus tweeted Harris will be ready to advance the Biden administration’s agenda from Day One.

“Senator Harris will make an excellent vice president, and the Biden/Harris administration will honor the legacy of so many who have toiled for justice, equality and representation,” Rep. Steven Horsford said.

“She’s now the promise of the legacy of those who came before her,” Horsford said. “And I can tell you that’s a compelling background to absolutely motivate more people to turn out (to vote).”

Republicans react

Local and national Republican parties criticized the choice, saying it “gives the Democrats the most extreme ticket in history.”

Trump’s re-election campaign immediately released an attack ad calling Harris a “phony” due to her apparent position changes on support for Medicare for All and criticism of Biden’s record on busing and desegregation in the 1970s.

“Harris’ extreme support for raising taxes, the abolition of private health insurance and willingness to defund the police make her and Biden wrong for Nevada,” state GOP Chairman Michael McDonald said in a statement. “Voters in the Silver State will make that perfectly clear in November.”

Former Harris’ Nevada advisers elated

Megan Jones, a longtime Nevada political operator who has advised both Reid and Harris’ presidential campaign, said the California senator “leads with incredible empathy and energy.”

She recalled Harris’ strong showing before the state’s powerful Culinary Local 226 at a November forum.

“She electrified that crowd because she took the time to understand them and speak directly to their hopes and dreams,” Jones said of Harris.

Emmy Ruiz also advised Harris in Nevada after previously running the state campaigns for former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here.

“Joe Biden has been running on the quest to restore the soul of our nation — to me, Kamala represents the promise of our nation and what still needs to be and can be fulfilled,” Ruiz said. “She has a strong record fighting for African American and Latinx communities, and that is something that will resonate strongly in Nevada.”

Familiar face

Although Harris dropped out of the 2020 race before Nevada Democrats ranked their choices in the February caucuses, the California senator used her close proximity to make frequent campaign trips to the Silver State.

She campaigned in East Las Vegas restaurants and Strip convention centers, promising Nevadans a familiar hand in the fights against discrimination, homelessness, gun violence and prescription drug costs.

Harris touted her close working relationship with Cortez Masto, both having served their states as attorney generals before ascending to the Senate, on issues in Nevada such as the housing crisis during the Great Recession.

“Nevada,” Harris told the Review-Journal after a Las Vegas campaign speech last August, “is my first cousin.”

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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