Joe Biden committed to picking a woman as his running mate during Sunday's televised Democratic presidential debate while Sen. Bernie Sanders said "in all likelihood" he would also choose a female vice presidential candidate if he's the nominee.
"My administration will look like the country and I commit that I will in fact pick a woman to be vice president," the former vice president said. "There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow. I will pick a woman as my vice president."
Sanders said, "For me it's not just nominating a woman, it's making sure we have a progressive woman. And there are progressive women out there. So, my very strong tendency is to move in that direction."
Adding diversity to the Democratic ticket is widely seen as a priority for a party that now has two white men, both in their late 70s, as its top two candidates.
The only women vice presidential candidates to be on a major-party ticket are Rep. Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in 2008. Ferraro ran with Walter Mondale for the Democrats and Palin ran with John McCain for the Republicans. No woman has ever been elected vice president or president.
Biden, the Democratic frontrunner, said he would also appoint the first African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Former presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota both endorsed Biden's candidacy and are considered possible vice presidential nominees. Other possibilities could include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who ended her run for president after a disappointing Super Tuesday, and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams of Georgia.
Biden hinted at picking a woman for vice president in November at a town hall in Iowa. When asked by an audience member who he might pick if he were the nominee, Biden mentioned only names of women.
His list included "the former assistant attorney general who got fired," referring to Sally Yates; "the woman who should have been the governor of Georgia," referring to Abrams; and "the two senators from the state of New Hampshire," referring to U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.Reach Joey Garrison at @joeygarrison This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democratic debate Joe Biden says he will pick woman for his vice president