Former Vice President Joe Biden said he plans to pick a woman as his running mate if he secures the Democratic nomination to challenge President Donald Trump.
“I would pick a woman to be my vice president,” Biden said during Sunday night’s debate against Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow.”
Biden leads Sanders in both the delegate count and public polling, and is heavily favoured to secure the nomination.
Sanders suggested he was inclined to pick a woman as his running mate, but did not make the same commitment.
“In all likelihood, I would,” he said. “For me, it’s not just nominating a woman. It is making sure that we have a progressive woman, and there are progressive women out there. So my very strong tendency is to move in that direction.”
Both men have made similar suggestions in the past, but Biden’s pledge goes further than either candidate has gone before.
A number of women have been floated as potential running mates for Biden, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Florida Rep. Val Demings, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.
Biden’s and Sanders’ pronouncements, however, will likely be disappointing to a number of men who were considered potential vice presidential picks, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Both men have endorsed Biden.
No woman has ever served as president or vice president. Only two women, New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have ever been a major party nominee for vice president. Ferraro was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984 and Palin was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said only one woman had been a major party nominee for vice president.