Nov 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden's Hispanic overture

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Bill Clark (CQ Roll Call), Saul Loeb (AFP), Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After Joe Biden whiffed with Hispanic voters in some states, Democrats are urging the president-elect to nominate several Latinos to high-profile Cabinet positions.

Among those in contention: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for Homeland Security, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for Health and Human Services, and Rep. Filemon Vela for Commerce or Transportation.

  • Becerra and Lujan Grisham have quietly conveyed their interest to Biden’s team.

Where it stands: Biden plans to roll out his senior White House staff first, potentially starting this week, and then announce some of his Cabinet later this month or next. Hispanic appointments could help win back a demographic needed to maintain House control in the 2022 midterms.

  • Biden wants the Cabinet to "look like America," and some of his confidants are predicting it will be more than half female. They believe the big four positions — Justice, State, Defense and Treasury — could all go to women.
  • While Biden's West Wing will have older white males who are longtime advisers — Ron Klain, Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon — expect diversity around the Oval Office, too.

Biden came to rely on Rep. Cedric Richmond, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, for his political antenna. He's leaning toward bringing Richmond inside the White House as a senior adviser, instead of the Cabinet.

Flashback: The CBC has signaled to Biden that African Americans are expecting "nontraditional" Cabinet posts, with some targeting Treasury secretary.

  • They are gathering lists of names and funneling them to the transition through Richmond and Rep. Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement sealed Biden’s primary victory in South Carolina.
  • Among their top candidates is Rep. Marcia Fudge from Ohio for Agriculture secretary.
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