Ranking The Democratic VP Candidates

Our Political Expert Paul Krishnamurty delivers his Democratic VP candidate betting update six weeks following his early analysis when Joe Biden became all but guaranteed to be the Presidential candidate.

Read that article and much more US Election betting insight on our Politics Hub.

what we already know

Given that the Democrat convention has been pushed forward until at least August due to coronavirus, Joe Biden still has several months to pick his running mate and ponder which dynamics carry the most weight.

Whilst he has already confirmed he’s looking for a woman to create a gender-balanced ticket, it remains unclear whether he will focus on ethnicity, ideology, experience or particular traction in swing states when choosing between dozens of plausible candidates. Here are my rankings for the top-ten – irrespective of where they currently stand in the betting.


The Minnesota Senator is not favourite but her lack of weaknesses warrant the top ranking. Her primary bid was effectively a shadow of Biden’s moderate platform. Her endorsement once withdrawing and instant elevation to top surrogate was highly predictable. She is perfect for the electorally critical Mid-West.

My instinct is that their joint brand is precisely what is required to beat Trump. Moderate, impossible to paint as extreme. Perfect for winning Independents and non-partisans who merely want a return to normality, stability. Klobuchar is also the ideal ‘replacement-president-in-waiting’ – important given that Biden’s opponents will inevitably focus on his age and persist in accusing him of ‘cognitive decline’.

2 - Elizabeth Warren

The one risk in a Biden-Klobuchar ticket is alienating the Left that enthusiastically backed Bernie Sanders’ socialist agenda. In that respect, Warren would fare much better at uniting the party and potentially negating some of the candidate’s more controversial past positions – regarding Wall Street, for example. She would add energy to Biden’s relatively lifeless campaign. I’ve backed her at much bigger odds, between $15 and $19, and have not laid back yet.

She is definitely a frontline contender and also ticks the president-in-waiting box. Warren has said she would accept the offer and it was reported in 2016 that Biden had earmarked her for the role had he chosen to run. He’s recently adopted some of her positions – no Democrat had a more policy-heavy platform.

As with my number one selection, however, there is one negative. Were Warren to be VP, the Republican Governor of her Massachusetts state would be free to temporarily appoint a replacement Senator from his party, thus severely hampering Democrat legislative plans.


Governor Whitmer has drifted in the betting as a consequence of her fight in locking down Michigan, which brought her into direct conflict with President Trump and protesters. He dismissed her as ‘the woman from Michigan’, thus significantly boosting her national profile and potentially providing a great narrative moving forward.

A young, pragmatic female Governor taking on Trump could be of great assistance to the ageing former VP and Whitmer will play well in the Mid-West. She has apparently been friendly with Biden for years and appeared on his podcast. I reckon she remains high on his shortlist and good value at $17.50.


Harris remains hot favourite but I’m convinced the market has it wrong. Biden is committed to promoting a woman of colour to the Supreme Court – that is likelier the role for this top surrogate. I’ve laid at 2.4 and recommend doing so again at 3.0. As California Senator, she brings nothing to the electoral college fight and, if he wants to pick a black woman, there are others that do.


This Senator from Nevada is moving fast up my rankings and may still be under-rated in the betting. Legendary former Clinton advisor James Carville rated her in his top-three in this extensive interview for “The Political Trade”. Picking a Latino makes much electoral sense. It would likely lock down Arizona as a gain on 2016 and could bring Texas into play.


In contrast, Abrams continues to fall off my radar due to a lack of any governing experience. That could really matter given Biden’s age. That she has taken to touting her own credentials reeks slightly of desperation and regret that she opted out of the Georgia Senate race. Nevertheless, picking a black woman makes great sense electorally and she is the best realistic option.


There’s a bit of money around for this Illinois Senator – a veteran of the Iraq war who lost both legs in that conflict. That is a great backstory and, being Thai-American, selecting her would mean a person of colour being on the ticket. Her state is safe Democrat, however, which probably places her behind others who can offer something to the electoral college fight.


Demings was an early outsider pick, as a black Congresswoman from the swing state of Florida,  reportedly on Biden’s shortlist. I’ve no reason to think that has changed but the distinct lack of noise suggests she’s way down that list.

9 - Michelle Obama

Biden said last week that he’d pick the former First Lady in a heartbeat. He would say that. There’s no suggestion Michelle O wants to enter frontline politics. I’ve laid at 20.


The Governor of New Mexico was the first Latino to be elected to such a position in US history and has extensive Congressional experience. That is a strong resume and useful for pursuing the same swing states targets mentioned in Masto’s profile. Media coverage and betting signals, however, don’t suggest she’s in serious contention though.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Amy Klobuchar at $5.70

BACK – Gretchen Whitmer at $17

LAY – Kamala Harris at $3.00

LAY – Michelle Obama at $20

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