Kamala Harris has become vice-president-elect of the US, the first time in history that a woman, and a woman of color, has been elected to such a position in the White House.
Joe Biden won the presidency by clinching Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes on Saturday morning, after days of painstaking vote counting following record turnout across the country. The win in Pennsylvania took Biden’s electoral college vote to 284, surpassing the 270 needed to win the White House.
Harris, a former California senator who is of Indian and Jamaican heritage, will also be the first woman of mixed race to serve as vice-president. If she became president she would be the first female president, and the second biracial president in American history, after Barack Obama.
Women have run for president or run on major party presidential tickets before, the most recent being Hillary Clinton. Carly Fiorina was named as Texas senator Ted Cruz’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election in that year’s Republican primary before Donald Trump won the party’s nomination.
Sarah Palin was the last woman to run as a vice-presidential nominee on a major party presidential ticket in a general election. Palin, while governor of Alaska, was part of the late Arizona senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
But Harris is the first woman in American history ever to run on a successful presidential ticket.
Harris herself ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary but struggled to gain traction in the large field, and dropped out of the race months before Biden was named the party’s presidential nominee.
On the campaign trail, Harris has brushed off questions about whether she was introspective about her heritage and race. In 2019, Harris said she did not agonize over how to categorize herself.