SALT LAKE CITY – Former Vice President Joe Biden’s choice for a running mate will finally have the opportunity to campaign in Utah during a debate slated for Oct. 7.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) will face off against Vice President Mike Pence in a 90-minute match-up hosted by the Utah Debate Commission (UTDC) at the University of Utah.
The presumptive Democratic nominee for president announced his choice of Harris on Tuesday, ending more than a month of speculation. The Biden campaign was under increasingly heavy pressure from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and minority activists to select a woman of color as his running mate.
During her earlier ill-fated campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Harris never campaigned in Utah. Despite that, local Democrats expressed excitement about Harris’ selection, praising her as a woman from the West with a law and order background.
Harris, 55, is the daughter of immigrant parents. Her father was from Jamaica and her mother from India. She served 26 years as a prosecutor and attorney general of the state of California.
She is a first-term U.S. Senator, having taken office in 2017. She was only the second African-American woman ever elected to the Senate.
At a campaign rally in Arizona, Pence greeted the news of Harris’ selection with an air of anticipation.
“My message to the Democratic candidate for vice present?” Pence told the cheering crowd. “Congratulations. I’ll see you in Salt Lake City.”
Local GOP observers suggested that Democrats’ joy at Harris’ selection will likely diminish when party loyalists face the challenge of reconciling her record as a tough prosecutor of minority offenders with their party’s current support for violent and destructive protest demonstrations.
The UTDC event in Salt Lake City is the only vice presidential debate now scheduled prior to the November general election.