The names being floated as Kamala Harris' running mate if Biden drops out

  • Kamala Harris is sticking by Joe Biden's side, though she remains his likeliest replacement.

  • Harris would likely choose a relatively moderate white man as her running mate.

  • A few governors, two from swing states, are emerging as favorites, sources told The New York Times.

Vice President Kamala Harris may be publicly sticking by President Joe Biden's side as he fights to save his campaign, but that's not stopping other Democrats from considering her as his most likely replacement. Should Harris soar to the top of the ticket, she would probably choose a moderate white man as her running mate, two people close to the Biden-Harris camp told The New York Times.

Harris would become the first Black and Asian American female presidential nominee of a major party, and a running mate who looks like nearly all former US presidents would likely temper the jolt to the status quo in this age of identity politics. Govs. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Andy Beshear of Kentucky, and Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania are emerging as candidates, the people close to the Biden-Harris campaign said.

Cooper looks like the favorite right now. A Southern moderate, he has worked alongside North Carolina's Republican-led Legislature since winning a tough battle for the governorship in 2016. Before serving as governor, Cooper was the state's attorney general for nearly 16 years. He met Harris during that time, when she was the attorney general in California. Some Democrats think that North Carolina is up for grabs in November and that Cooper could help flip the state.

As the governor of Kentucky, Beshear doesn't offer the same opportunity to turn a red state blue. He did, however, attract some attention after winning another term in deep-red Kentucky last year. Beshear also served as attorney general before his governorship, giving him an additional point of connection to Harris.

Shapiro has something that the White House sorely lacks at the moment: good polling numbers. A poll from January found he had a higher approval rating than other recent Pennsylvania governors, with 59% approving of his performance. Pennsylvania is a key swing state, and Beshear's popularity there could help tip the scales in Democrats' favor.

As whispers about Harris turn to light chatter, she's staying silent on the question of her nomination, let alone her prospective running mate. She knows that these discussions would risk a leak, and a leak would risk undermining her loyalty, allies told the Times.

But so long as Biden keeps teetering, the question about what her ticket would look like remains wide open.

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