Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) has become a frontrunner in former Vice President Joe Biden‘s search for a running mate.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has been in direct contact with the Biden campaign regarding its search, told the Washington Post that there was a “lot of attention” on Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient and Iraq War veteran.

“You had all the other names there, and it was as if she didn’t exist,” Reid said. “And suddenly people began to look at her – this highly decorated woman, member of Congress, senator.”

Duckworth served the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot and suffered severe combat wounds, causing her to lose both of her legs and some mobility in her right arm.


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She was the first female double amputee from the way and the first woman with a disability to be elected to Congress, as well as the first to give birth while in office.

Although Duckworth is of Thai and Chinese descent, there has been recent push to select a black female running mate in the wake of the nationwide protests and calls to reform systems that have been historically racist.

While Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) has remained a general favorite, Biden has declined to commit to choosing a woman of color.

In an interview with CNN’s State of the Union, Duckworth would not say if Biden should pick a black woman.

“I’m sure Vice President Biden will pick the right person to be next to him as he digs this country out of the mess that Donald Trump has put us in,” she said, calling black women the “key to the victory for Democrats.”

When pressed further on the issue, Duckworth said “I don’t think it’s on any of us to dictate to him.”

“He knows best who he needs as a vice president, who can help him connect with the American people, who can help him overcome the crises that we’re operating under right now,” she continued. “There’s a lot of problems that Donald Trump is leaving, and Joe Biden’s going to have to clean up, and he’ll pick the right person to help him to do that.”

Biden initially said he would name his running mate by Aug. 1, but has suggested that deadline may be pushed back. He may instead choose his pick shortly before the Democratic National Convention on Aug.17, which could protect the running mate from right wing attacks in the weeks leading up to the convention.

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