Biden to narrow VP list. But don't expect a pick next week

He's getting closer but he's not quite there yet.

Joe Biden is unlikely to announce his chosen vice presidential running mate next week, according to a person familiar with the ongoing search.

But Biden is expected to begin the process of winnowing a list that still includes several female governors, lawmakers and former federal officials next week when he begins holding interviews with potential running mates, according to a separate person with insight into the Biden vetting process. This person could not say who would be invited to speak with Biden directly about the position.

This is expected to signify Biden's shortest list of top contenders, whittled down from the larger list including: former Georgia state Senator Stacey Abrams, Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Congresswoman Karen Bass of California, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Congresswoman Val Demings, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, former Obama White House national security adviser Susan Rice and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.   

Over the past few months, the women under consideration were asked to submit personal information, including any tax and business records, as well as background on their wealth and family. They were also instructed to disclose information about their record in politics, their references and other documents to Biden's vetting committee.

Given the varying depth and breadth of their life and experiences, some women had more information to submit than others: one of the women had her documents arranged all throughout her kitchen, according to one person familiar with that candidate's work. 

Once the women submitted their records, they were reviewed by the vetting committee and then sat for remote, hours-long interviews with the vetting committee. One interview lasted around four hours, according to a source.

The campaign has also conducted focus groups on the potential running mates, according to sources familiar with the ongoing process.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Biden declined to say whether he would be meeting with his potential vice presidential candidate in person or virtually.

Several people close to the selection process or familiar with Biden's general way of thinking have stressed in recent days that the timeline could change at a moment's notice and that the former vice president is likely to keep his counsel among a close circle of family members, including his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and other longtime aides.

But Biden's decision is widely expected to be announced before a truncated pandemic-era Democratic National Convention is held the week of August 17 in Milwaukee. Biden has said he will formally accept his party's nomination from that city.

The former vice president has shared what he is looking for in his own vice president, stating his governing partner should have the experience necessary to be president at a moment's notice, have strengths where he has weaknesses, and share a certain "simpatico" quality with him.

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