Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Still A Live Underdog In Biden Veepstakes

Reports on Thursday shot Gov. Whitmer up to no. 4 on the odds list, but she's still a 20/1 underdog on PredictIt.
Joe Biden at a Rally

Does the governor of Michigan still have a shot in the Joe Biden VP race? Betting markets say so.

On PredictIt, a low-stakes political betting website that services Americans legally under an exemption from the federal government, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was fluctuating up and down at 6c on Thursday afternoon, about a week before Biden is expected to make his announcement. Her value translates to a 6% implied probability. That’s the equivalent of about 20/1 or +2000.

Those odds pegged Whitmer as the no. 4 most likely veep pick.

Whitmer was a longshot back in March, before surging up the odds list as the coronavirus pandemic brought the U.S. to a standstill. As a governor of one of the nation’s early COVID-19 hot spots and national co-chair of the Biden campaign, Whitmer was all over TV and quickly became one of the favorites to be the pick. As spring turned into summer, Whitmer fell down the odds list as COVID-19 became highly politicized and the governor looked to be bogged down dealing with armed far-right protesters at the state capitol.

Combined with the fact that she has only been Michigan’s top official for less than two years and social unrest related to brutal police killings made a woman of color look like the route Biden would go, other women overtook Whitmer in terms of the betting odds.

At least one headline in mid-June stated that Whitmer was out of the running for veep.

Fast forward to early August and the race is still far from over, including renewed chances for Whitmer, though Black women are still the heavy betting favorites.

Buzz around Whitmer

Around lunchtime on Thursday, an MSNBC show included a report that Whitmer was still in the mix, though it didn’t suggest she was anywhere close to a favorite.

An earlier report also seemed to back up the idea that Whitmer was a very live underdog, suggesting some of the former favorites in recent months had better odds than perhaps the list on PredicitIt indicates. Whitmer shares doubled in price on the Thursday reports.

An NBC article had an interesting analysis of Whitmer and the pressure on Biden to address racism in America through his veep pick and/or cabinet as a whole.

“Whitmer, notably, held a press conference Wednesday to announce a pair of executive orders focused on racial justice, including a ‘first of its kind’ advisory council to address racism within state government,” the article stated, “and one recognizing racism as a public health crisis. She was joined in the announcement by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, who, if Whitmer were to become vice president, would become Michigan’s first, and the nation’s only Black governor.”

Furthermore, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, a top Democrat from South Carolina whose endorsement earlier this year basically gave Biden the nomination, has stated in recent days that he’d prefer to have a Black woman on the Supreme Court than as vice president. Clyburn is considered very influential on the selection process. As the process winds down, Clyburn is not all in on a Black veep like he once appeared to be.

Is this all enough to suggest Whitmer has value at roughly 20/1? It’s hard to say, but it makes for a good sweat.

Image credit: Bryan Regan / Shutterstock.com


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