Biden lists New Hampshire's two senators as potential running mates

  • Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. (left) and now-Sen. Maggie Hassan arrive for a 2016 campaign rally. Hassan was the state’s governor at the time. AP file

Published: 11/25/2019 4:40:14 PM

It’s been more than 140 years since a politician from New Hampshire served as the nation’s vice president.

If the political stars align just right, it’s possible that dry spell will be over.

At a campaign event in Iowa, former Vice President Joe Biden was asked about a potential running mate if he wins the Democratic nomination.

He suggested four people without naming names and two of them are from the Granite State.

“I could start naming people but the press will think that’s who I picked,” Biden said, according to a report in the Des Moines Register.

Biden’s vice presidential list included “the former assistant attorney general who got fired,” referring to Sally Yates; “the woman who should have been the governor of Georgia,” referring to Stacey Abrams; and “the two senators from the state of New Hampshire,” referring to U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, according to the Register.

If Biden, in fact, becomes the Democratic nominee and holds true to his all-female list, the eventual vice president would become the third woman from the two major political parties to vie to be vice president. The other two women were Sarah Palin – John McCain’s running mate in 2008; and Geraldine Ferraro – the running mate of Michael Dukakis in 1984.

Yates served as deputy attorney general during the final two years of the Obama administration and became acting attorney general once Donald Trump was inaugurated. She was fired by Trump after she said the Justice Department would not enforce an immigration ban from seven predominately Muslim nations.

Abrams served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017 and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018. She narrowly lost the election and never conceded because of alleged voter suppression. She told the New York Times she would be open to accepting a vice-presidential nod.

Shaheen is New Hampshire’s senior senator and is currently seeking a third term in the 2020 election. Before going to Washington, she served three terms as governor from 1997 to 2003.

Hassan was a two-term governor of the Granite State from 2013 to 2017 and beat Kelly Ayotte to gain her Senate seat in 2016.

“Senator Hassan is flattered to be mentioned, but believes that the biggest impact that she can make for the people of New Hampshire is serving as a U.S. Senator,” her spokeswoman Laura Epstein said Monday.

The only vice president from New Hampshire was Henry Wilson, who served from 1873–75 under President Ulysses S. Grant. Wilson was a senator from Massachusetts but was born in Farmington, New Hampshire. Wilson served nearly 20 years after Franklin Pierce’s single term as U.S. president.

In Iowa, Biden went on to say the most important thing a presidential candidate can do is to pick a running mate who is capable and shares common political ground, according to the Register.

The staff for Shaheen declined to comment.

Such a move would open new possibilities for Ayotte, a  former New Hampshire Attorney General who has moved back into the private sector. Ayotte remains at the center of speculation that she will run for the Senate at some point.

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