The conference Call included several of the state’s highest-ranking elected officials and labor and business leaders, including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, state schools chief Tony Thurmond, state Treasurer Fiona Ma and Chad Griffin, a Democratic consultant and former head of Human Rights campaign, according to organizers.
Representing the Biden campaign were the four main members of his vetting team: Dodd, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Biden’s former White House and Senate counsel, Cynthia Hogan.
A person on the Call said Harris’ allies wanted the campaign to hear from people who know her best. The implication was that others who’ve criticized Harris to the media, and compared her unfavorably to another contender for VP from California, Rep. Karen Bass, were not providing an accurate reflection of Harris or her record.
“This was about us sharing how much Kamala would be a stellar vice president,” said one official who participated on the Call, referencing Dodd’s earlier remarks.
POLITICO alluded to the Call in a Wednesday story, but the extent of the organization behind it was unclear at the time. Dodd said “very supportive things” about Harris during the Call, according to Kounalakis.
“We love Senator Harris, and will continue to share her incredible work and record here in California,” Garcia said. “She’s extremely loyal and has the highest integrity and character.”
Biden has said he’d name his running mate sometime next week, but aides now expect the announcement will come the second week of August.
Biden’s campaign faced a backlash over Dodd’s remarks to the donor. A second source has since told POLITICO that Dodd made similar comments about Harris on at least one other phone Call during the vetting process.
Critics suggested that Dodd was questioning a woman for being ambitious. In a sign of the extensive damage control the campaign did in the aftermath, Biden’s campaign manager tweeted later this week: “Ambitious women make history, change the world, and win. Our campaign is full of ambitious women going all out for Joe Biden.”