Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto withdraws from Biden VP consideration

Rishika Dugyala

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said Thursday she does not want to be presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick.

“It is an honor to be considered as a potential running mate, but I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration," she said in a statement. “Nevada's economy is one of the hardest hit by the current crisis and I will continue to focus on getting Nevadans the support they need to get back on their feet.”

Her withdrawal comes as the scrutiny intensifies around whom Biden will pull onto his presidential ticket. She was one of several women suggested as a possible running mate.

Cortez Masto, 56, served as Nevada's attorney general in 2006 — a role that meant working with Beau Biden, who was then Delaware's attorney general. In 2016, she became the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate.

Despite Cortez Masto having mostly stayed out of the limelight, some activists believed the senator could give Biden and down-ballot Democrats a better chance in states with dense Latino populations, including Arizona, Texas, and Florida — states that went to Donald Trump in 2016.

“I support Joe Biden 100% and will work tirelessly to help get him elected this November,” Cortez Masto said in her statement.

In a Thursday evening statement, Biden said Nevadans are fortunate to have Cortez Masto fighting for them in Washington. "I've admired Senator Cortez-Masto as long as I have known her because she’s a leader with integrity," he added.

During the search for a vice presidential pick, Biden allies have said former rivals Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren possess an edge because of their own past presidential runs. Harris had emerged as the early favorite, while more than a dozen black and Latino activists and strategists have warned against picking Klobuchar. But a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released this week showed Warren boosting Biden’s candidacy the most of any potential choice, especially among people under 45 and black and Hispanic voters.

The campaign was reportedly torn over choosing an African American or a progressive running mate. Biden recently confirmed that "multiple black women [are] being considered" for vice president. Other than Harris, those often named include former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and Florida Rep. Val Demings.

James Arkin contributed to this report.