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Claire McCaskill campaigning for Senate in 2018. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill is under consideration for a plum ambassadorship in western Europe — another sign President Biden will tap party allies over big dollar donors when he starts to name his political ambassadors as soon as next week.

Why it matters: Biden will have political antennae across the globe.

McCaskill is to be joined in the diplomatic corps by Rahm Emanuel, who has been promised ambassador to Japan ... L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, headed for India ... and Tom Nides, Democratic confidant and former deputy SecState, in line for Israel.

  • Cindy McCain is expected to be the ambassador to the World Food Program in Rome.
  • Ken Salazar — President Obama's Interior secretary, and a former senator from Colorado— is preparing to go to Mexico.
  • Nick Burns, a career diplomat, is Biden's likely choice for China.

The intrigue: Biden is also considering former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who endorsed him at the Democratic convention, for an ambassadorship.

  • Former Sen. Chris Dodd turned down an embassy offer, and will instead be available for discreet diplomatic missions as one of Biden’s oldest Senate friends.

The big picture: White House officials are working to ensure that his picks reflect the diversity of the country, meaning that many wealthy white male donors will see their ambassadorial ambitions quashed after a lifetime of giving.

  • Biden will likely draw on political allies and donors for roughly 30% of the 190-ish available ambassadorships.
  • The remaining 70% will go to career foreign service officers.
  • The 70/30 ratio has been the standard for most modern presidents, with the exception of President Trump who nominated political ambassadors for 44% of his openings, according to the American Foreign Service Association.

Go deeper

May 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden ready to name Eric Garcetti ambassador to India

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden is ready to nominate Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as his ambassador to India, sending a trusted political ally to the world's biggest democracy, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Driving the news: Biden is planning to name his first slate of political ambassadors as soon as next week, rewarding political allies like Garcetti, as well as big-dollar donors, many of whom covet postings in elegant European capitals.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."