Harris ran with the Democratic candidate and the former U.S. vice president, Joe Biden, defeating incumbent President Donald Trump in what is viewed as the tightest race in US election history by clinching key votes in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
The 56-year old was elected to the U.S. Senate under the Democratic ticket in 2016 to represent California. With her Senate victory, Harris became the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African American woman to hold that position.
Before she became a senator, Harris was the attorney general of California from 2011 to 2017.
Born on October 20, 1964, her father was a Jamaican who taught at Stanford University while her mother was an Indian cancer researcher.
Harris studied political science and economics at Howard University and subsequently earned a law degree from Hastings College in 1989.
She worked as a deputy district attorney shortly after graduating from law school in 1990 in Oakland, earning a reputation for toughness as she prosecuted cases of gang violence, drug trafficking, and sexual abuse.
Harris rose through the ranks, becoming district attorney in 2004.
In 2010, she was narrowly elected attorney general of California—winning by a margin of less than 1 per cent—thus becoming the first female and the first African American to hold the post.
She became a prominent figure within the Democratic party and was recruited to run for the U.S. Senate seat by Barbara Boxer who was retiring. She ran for office on key themes of immigration and criminal-justice reforms, increasing the minimum wage and protection of women’s reproductive rights.
As a senator, Harris served on both the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Judiciary Committee.
She later announced that she would be seeking the presidential nomination of the Democratic party for the 2020 election. In December 2019, however, despite growing support for her ambition, she dropped out of the race. Still, she continued to be vocal — for example about the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed by the police.
After weeks of deliberation and consideration of a potential running mate, in August 2020 Joe Biden chose Harris, and she became the first Black woman to appear on a major party’s national ticket.
She married attorney Douglas Emhoff in 2014 and has two step kids.