Florida Democrats hope VP pick Kamala Harris will revitalize political party

Florida Rep. Darren Soto says pick shows strong character for Biden

The presidential election is 11 weeks away and now that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has chosen his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, News 6′s political analyst weighed in on the vice presidential pick and that means for the weeks ahead.

“It’s gonna have a tremendous impact and that’s what Joe Biden needs is excitement,” News 6 political analyst and UCF professor John Clark said. “Kamala Harris is gonna be able to hit several boxes. She’s a woman. She’s African American and she’s Asian.”

Clark said in 2016 the Democratic party lacked enthusiasm and greater voter turnout by the African American community.

“President Obama was able to turn out African Americans for the Democrats in record numbers. Hillary could not match those numbers and it cost her in several states,” he said. “The belief though is that Sen. Harris can restore that enthusiasm and turn out the African American vote which the Democrats need.”

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 the black voter turnout rate declined in the presidential election to 59.6% after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012. Clinton won both Orange and Osceola counties, part of the crucial I-4 corridor, but failed to win any other part of Central Florida.

Rep. Darren Soto (Florida-D) said Biden’s pick for VP showed a strong character given that Harris was once his rival, and her experience as a state attorney and senator, would also help tackle key issues.

“Both in Florida and around the nation there’s a real reassessment on how communities of color are treated by our justice system and she comes with that overwhelming experience to be able to navigate it, to come up with fair reforms,” Soto said.

Soto and Harris both worked together in issues regarding Puerto Rico and during relief efforts for the island after Hurricane Maria.

“I found her to be not only very personable and very thorough but also one of the best senators in the nation,” Soto who represents the 9th Congressional district said.

“Born from a Jamaican dad and Indian mom she really represents that mix that we have here in Florida,” Soto said. “I know that the Hispanic community is also very excited.”

Harris’ experience and background, Clark said, will benefit Biden’s campaign.

“She’s a safe choice. Some of the other candidates most notably Susan Rice had been involved in a number of things like Benghazi which certainly would have come up during the campaign. There’s nothing like that in her background,” Clark said of Harris.

In a statement, the Republican National Committee said:

“A hiding, diminished, and incoherent Joe Biden didn’t just select a vice-presidential candidate, he chose the person who would actually be in charge the next four years if he is somehow able to win. Kamala Harris’ extreme positions, from raising taxes to abolishing private health insurance to comparing law enforcement officials to the KKK, show that the left-wing mob is controlling Biden’s candidacy, just like they would control him as president. These radical policies might be popular among liberals, but they are well outside the mainstream for most Americans,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

Biden and Harris are set to make their first campaign appearance together on Wednesday.

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