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With speculation over Joe Biden’s choice of a running mate hitting peak breathlessness, the inclusion of two prominent California Democrats on his shortlist is stirring up the Golden State political scene.

The guessing game over the vice-presidential pick — a quadrennial tradition — has centered its focus of late on Sen. Kamala Harris, long considered a front-runner for the job, and Rep. Karen Bass, a newly ascendant contender. The two women hail from opposite parts of the state and have substantially different resumes, but their fate on the presidential ticket has become inextricably linked, thanks to unusually public jockeying by allies on their behalf.

The maneuvers, both overt and private, underscore the high stakes that come with simply being mentioned as a vice-presidential prospect.

“For both Harris and Bass, being seriously considered by Biden means a boost in their future credibility and visibility,” said Rose Kapolczynski, a longtime Democratic strategist in the state. “It lets Kamala recover from a rocky campaign of her own. And it takes a little-known SoCal member of Congress and catapults her onto the national scene.”

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