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Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto withdraws from Biden VP consideration

POLITICO logo POLITICO 5/29/2020 By Rishika Dugyala
Catherine Cortez Masto looking at the camera: Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. © Rich Pedroncelli, File/AP Photo Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said Thursday she does not want to be presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick.

“It is an honor to be considered as a potential running mate but I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration," she said in a statement. “Nevada's economy is one of the hardest hit by the current crisis and I will continue to focus on getting Nevadans the support they need to get back on their feet.”

Her withdrawal comes as the scrutiny intensifies around who Biden will pull onto his presidential ticket. Cortez Masto, 56, became the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. She was one of several women suggested as a possible running mate.

Despite Cortez Masto having mostly stayed out of the limelight, some activists believed the senator could give Biden and down-ballot Democrats a better chance in states with dense Latino populations, including Arizona, Texas, and Florida — states that went to Donald Trump in 2016.

“I support Joe Biden 100% and will work tirelessly to help get him elected this November,” Cortez Masto said in her statement.

Biden allies have said former rivals Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren possess an edge because of their own past presidential runs. Harris had emerged as the early favorite, while more than a dozen black and Latino activists and strategists have warned against picking Klobuchar. But a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released this week showed Warren boosting Biden’s candidacy the most of any potential choice, especially among people under 45 and black and Hispanic voters.

The campaign was reportedly torn over choosing an African American or a progressive running mate. Biden recently confirmed that "multiple black women [are] being considered" for vice president. Other than Harris, those often named include former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and Florida Rep. Val Demings.

James Arkin contributed to this report.

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