MADISON, Wis. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin sidestepped questions Wednesday about her chances to be presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate and said that Milwaukee should be considered for a future Democratic National Convention given that the one starting in less than three weeks will be a vastly scaled back version of what was originally planned.
Baldwin, a Democrat, took questions Wednesday from a panel of journalists at an online event organized by the Milwaukee Press Club and WisPolitics.com. She appeared online from her apartment in Washington, where Congress is negotiating the latest coronavirus relief package.
Biden has said he would announce his pick for vice president next week. Baldwin, a Democrat who won reelection in 2018 after President Donald Trump narrowly carried the state in 2016, has been mentioned as a potential running mate. Baldwin, who is the Senate’s first openly gay member, has also told Biden that her victory should serve as a model for how his campaign can win the swing state.
Baldwin said it was an honor to be viewed as a potential running mate, but she dodged questions about her chances of being picked.
“I’m looking forward to the announcement next week,” she said. “I won’t have to tiptoe around any more questions any more about what’s happening.”
Baldwin also sidestepped a question about whether she thought Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, was helping Russia spread disinformation meant to disrupt the election.
Democrats, including members of the Senate intelligence panel, have voiced concerns that an ongoing Republican probe led by Johnson into Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his work in Ukraine would amplify Russian disinformation.
“I can’t comment specifically on that issue, but I can say that I have every reason to believe that we continue to experience foreign interference with our elections, just as we did in 2016,” Baldwin said.
When asked why she couldn’t comment on Johnson, she said, “I reviewed classified material and I can’t talk about it.”
Tens of thousands of Democrats originally were expected to converge on Wisconsin for the national convention where presumptive nominee Joe Biden was to be officially nominated. But because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the convention was delayed until Aug. 17 and scaled back to a mostly virtual event with about 300 people in attendance in Milwaukee.
“I do believe (Democratic organizers) and the Biden campaign have put the health and safety of all participants front and center and first and foremost," Baldwin said.
Baldwin said she still plans to attend in person and welcome attendees to Wisconsin. Delegates from other states have been told to stay away because of concerns about spreading the virus. Attendees also will be required to follow a long list of guidelines, including wearing masks at all times.
Given the unforeseen virus outbreak that disrupted the convention, and expected economic boon to Milwaukee and Wisconsin, Baldwin said she thought the city should get another chance to host a future convention.
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