On the trail: N.H. in the veepstakes spotlight  

  • Shaheen, Hassan at an event Monday.

For the Monitor
Published: 5/22/2020 3:33:25 PM
Modified: 5/22/2020 3:33:12 PM

It’s been 145 years since any Granite State native or resident has served as vice president of the United States.

Few may recall Henry Wilson, who was born in Farmington in 1812 but as an adult relocated to Massachusetts where he won election to the U.S. Senate. He’s the last man with granite roots who served as vice president from 1873-1875 under President Ulysses S. Grant.

Now, all these years later, there’s a slight chance that drought may end with one of New Hampshire’s female senators.

Democratic sources confirmed to the Monitor that Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has reached out to both Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan in recent weeks to ask if they’d be interested in undergoing the vetting process to be considered as the former vice president’s running mate in the 2020 election.

Shaheen declined, according to a source.

The former three-term governor who’s currently running for a third term in the Senate, was already one of the women that the former vice president has publicly said he would consider as a running mate.

"There's an incredible number of people," Biden said in November, when asked about possible running mate, including "the two senators from the state of New Hampshire."

Biden separately announced in March that he would name a woman as the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Also under consideration is Hassan, who served two terms as governor before being elected to the Senate in 2016.

A Democratic source confirmed to the Monitor that Hassan was also asked to undergo the vetting process, and agreed to proceed.

However, Hassan wasn’t in a talkative mood about it. 

“I’m flattered that Vice President Biden publicly mentioned my name as someone whom he would consider. I am not going to comment about this process, whatever that may be,” Hassan said in a statement. “My focus each and every day continues to be serving the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate.”

Both Shaheen and Hassan are considered by political pundits to be long-shot candidates to be chosen as Biden’s running mate.

The knock against both of New Hampshire’s Democratic senators is that if either ended up as the running mate and the Democratic ticket won November’s presidential election, their Senate seat would open up, allowing Republican Gov. Chris Sununu to name a replacement to serve until the next statewide election, which isn’t scheduled until 2022. Sununu, who’s up for re-election this year as well, would likely name a Republican to succeed either Shaheen or Hassan in the Senate.

With Democrats gunning to regain the majority this November in a Senate chamber currently controlled by the Republicans 53-47, the prospect of losing a Democratic-held Senate seat and impacting the balance of power is not very appetizing. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who’s considered to be one of the leading contenders in the running mate stakes, faces a similar predicament. The Bay State’s governor is Republican Charlie Baker.

But Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota – who are also thought to be under serious consideration – represent states with Democratic governors.

Biden – in an appearance Thursday night on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ on CBS, highlighted that “no one has been vetted yet by the team. We have those team of lawyers who go out and do the vetting. No one has been vetted.”

Asked if he knows whom he may name as his running mate, the former vice president said “I honest to God don’t know who, I promise you, right now.”

Harris – who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination before ending her bid late last year – will keynote the Manchester Democrats virtual Flag Day event on June 12. 

Earlier this month – 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams – who’s thought to also be under serious consideration as Biden’s running mate – was a featured speaker at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s virtual convention.


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