By Joseph Ax and Richard Cowan
(Reuters) – Former Vice President Joe Biden is facing fresh calls to choose a black woman as his running mate amid rising racial tensions after this week’s videotaped death of an unarmed black man as a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
Some African-American leaders and activists said a black woman on the ticket would help demonstrate to black voters, a crucial component of the Democratic base, that Biden is committed to addressing issues like criminal justice reform and police misconduct.
“Amy Klobuchar is an absolute no-go,” said Keith Williams, chairman of the Democratic Party Black Caucus in Michigan, a battleground state Biden hopes to win back after Trump’s 2016 victory there.
Black activists, elected officials and donors interviewed by Reuters were divided on whether the race of Biden’s running mate matters as much as her support for meaningful policing and criminal justice reform.
Representative Cedric Richmond, the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and a prominent Biden backer, said there is one overriding consideration in choosing a vice presidential choice: “Making sure Donald Trump is not the president come Jan. 20 of next year.”