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Gov. Gina Raimondo. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has emerged as a leading candidate to be President-elect Joe Biden's commerce secretary, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Raimondo, a Rhodes scholar who co-founded a venture capital firm in Rhode Island earlier in her career, has prioritized good relationships with the business community, the target audience of commerce.

  • Nonetheless, Raimondo has also clashed with unions as she worked to reform Rhode Island’s public employee pension plans.
  • She also served as a national co-chair for Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, endorsing Biden only after the former New York mayor dropped out.
  • A Biden transition official declined to comment.

The big picture: Biden had been considering a prominent CEO or a Republican to lead the Commerce Department.

  • In considering Raimondo, he appears to be moving to a more traditional choice.
  • Raimondo, 49, and former chair of the Democratic Governor’s Association, is seen as a rising star in her party.

The intrigue: Raimondo also was under consideration to serve as secretary of health and human services, a job that eventually went to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

  • In early December, she appeared to take herself out of the running by saying during a press conference, “I am not going to be President-elect Biden’s nominee for HHS secretary.”

Go deeper

GOP research firm aims to hobble Biden nominees

Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Joshua Roberts/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican-aligned opposition research group America Rising is doing all it can to prevent President Biden from seating his top Cabinet picks.

Why it matters: After former President Trump inhibited the transition, Biden is hoping the Republican minority in Congress will cooperate with getting his team in place. Biden hadn't even been sworn in when America Rising began blasting opposition research to reporters targeting Janet Yellen and Alejandro Mayorkas.

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Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.