But Harris checked all the boxes that Biden and his search team were looking for, including personal chemistry with the nominee, whose late son Beau was close to Harris when they both served as their state's attorney general.
And now that Harris has climbed a mountain no other woman has reached, let alone a woman of color, there are few who will criticize her on the record.
One Democratic insider who has witnessed Harris's rise from the beginning, described her on background as "counterfeit" and "a climber" who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. And she did want to be Biden's running mate, encouraging a lobbying campaign on her behalf, which might also have taken down some of her competition in the process.
Since Biden named Harris as his running mate she has, not surprisingly, faced vicious attacks and name calling, starting with President Trump who called her “a monster” who would be “a terrible thing” for women if she became vice president. She also endured deliberate mispronunciations of her first name by Trump, Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue, Fox TV talk show host Tucker Carlson and many others.
In anticipation of the nastiness and personal attacks directed at Harris, advocates made a concerted effort to minimize the conservative media’s use of tropes and discriminatory labels to describe her.
“I will tell you, there was a pretty robust campaign of advocates who came out and said literally, we've got her back and really started pushing back on that type of coverage,” said Samantha Corbin, a Sacramento lobbyist, who helped expose the pervasive culture of bias, abuse and sexual harassment aimed at women working in California's state Capitol.
Jodi Hicks, CEO of Planned Parenthood of California, said Harris had to overcome the kind of double standards women in politics often face. “I think if you're a woman or especially a woman of color and you come to a table where we have perpetually decided that your whiteness or your maleness is the norm, then we question how you got there, which we don't do for men,” she said.
California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis said having Harris in the federal executive branch will bring “a fresh look at the institutions of our country that's really needed right now.”