Former Vice President Joe Biden emerged from a crowded Democratic presidential field to become the apparent nominee following his come from behind win in South Carolina and blowout wins on Super Tuesday. Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Selma, was a key asset for Biden. Sewell campaigned heavily on the ground for Biden with the Black community in South Carolina and then hosted the former Vice-President in her native Selma. Rep. Sewell’s mom is even a Biden pledged delegate at the Democratic Convention. The Alabama Congresswoman is not a national celebrity; but she has a very prominent role in the House of Representatives Democratic leadership and is a known and respected figure in Washington. Now, Sewell is being mentioned in Washington as a possible vice president pick for Biden.
National Review’s Dan Mclaughlin laid out why Biden might be wise to choose Sewell in a column published on Thursday.
McLaughlin says, “The Alabama congresswoman is virtually unknown and wouldn’t excite the progressive base. But as a low-risk pick who fits Biden’s brand, she has a strong case.”
Biden would be 78 when he would be inaugurated, older to the vice presidential pick would be especially important.
Sewell is a woman and a minority, which are both seen an advantageous.
McLaughlin said, “There are at least ten reasons why she might be an attractive choice for Biden, and possibly even a shrewd one.”
McLaughlin said: Sewell is African American, “And black voters are a major factor in a lot of key swing states: 2016 and 2018 exit polls showed them as potentially 30 percent of the electorate in Georgia, 20 percent in North Carolina, 15 percent in Michigan, 14 percent in Florida and Ohio, and 13 percent in Pennsylvania. A running mate who brings more black voters, and black women in particular, to the polls would be an important electoral asset for Biden, because once they are at the polls, he will win their votes by an overwhelming margin in the fall no matter what he does.”
Biden has already committed to a female running mate.
McLaughlin said that Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams are possible picks but made the argument that Sewell would be a better pick.
Harris was a “disaster as a presidential candidate., and the highlight of her campaign was all-but-calling Biden a racist on national television. He would presumably prefer to look elsewhere.”
“Then there is Stacey Abrams, the failed 2018 candidate for governor of Georgia who became a folk hero for progressives by refusing to concede defeat,” McLaughlin wrote. “Abrams is openly campaigning for the job, and she has begun pressuring Biden to pick a black woman to that end. In a Wednesday appearance on ABC’s The View, when she was asked if “not choosing a woman of color — a black woman, actually — is a slap in the face to black female voters,” she responded, “I would share your concern about not picking a woman of color.””
McLaughlin argues that “From Biden’s perspective, letting himself be bullied into giving the job to someone who has never held an office higher than the state legislature would be a disastrous projection of weakness. Choosing a black woman other than Abrams would mute her objection while avoiding that problem, which is an argument for Sewell.”
“Sewell is from the South,” a strong turnout among southern Black voters could put southern states in play for the Democrats. “A southerner on the ticket could be culturally reassuring to a region Democrats have tended to ignore of late, and would carry limited downside given that the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific coast have comparatively few competitive Senate races ongoing.”
Sewell’s also has “long, deep ties to the Obama administration make her a perfect fit for the “Obama Restoration” story Biden wants to tell.”
“All of a candidate’s virtues on paper have to be balanced against how the candidate comes off in person,” McLaughlin wrote. “Sewell is not an electrifying speaker or a policy wonk, but she is reasonably well-spoken by the House’s standards, and does not come off as an alarming, hair-on-fire bomb-thrower. That may not excite people itching for someone to bloody Mike Pence in a debate, but it means that there would be no risk of Biden’s being overshadowed by his running mate.”
“Sewell is not a choice that would excite online progressives or thrill the Beltway cognoscenti, and because she has never run a statewide race before, it is possible that careful vetting would turn up more vulnerabilities than she appears to have now,” McLauhglin wrote. “But as a low-risk pick who fits what Biden is looking to sell, she has a surprisingly strong case.”
Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.