Mike Pence vs Kamala Harris: Why the vice-presidential debate could be the most important one in US history

Current Vice President Mike Pence and hopeful California Senator, Kamala Harris, will go head to head in their first vice-presidential debate in Salt Lake City.

This year's VP debate could be one of the key moments of the entire election process.

Given the ages of US President Donald Trump and Democratic hopeful Joe Biden, America finds itself with the two oldest presidential candidates in its history.

This leaves presidential succession on many voters' minds as Mr Trump currently battles coronavirus and with Mr Biden saying he will likely sit for one term.

The running mates find themselves in an unusual position, and they will seek to prove they have what it takes to take over.

Not to mention, it could be one for the books as Kamala Harris aspires to be the first female VP in US history after she became the country's first Black and South Asian running mate.

While VP debates normally don't garner much attention, this year's one will also be a game changer as it's the first VP debate that will be watched as a presidential debate.

It has all the key ingredients to shatter viewership records, especially following Mr Trump and Mr Biden's chaotic first debate.

Mike Pence stands on stage with President Donald Trump Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP

Both candidates have proven themselves to be worthy, as soft-spoken Republican Mr Pence, rarely crumbles under intense media scrutiny - unlike the incumbent president.

Mike Pence, who heads the team in charge of deciding key appointments in the Trump administration's has in large avoided creating buzz-worthy headlines.

In fact, until recently - due to his role of leading the White House coronavirus task force - he has managed to stay out of the spotlight.

Crucially, Mr Pence, who is also in charge of the US space policy with the renewed National Space Council, has been a loyal pillar who has weathered many storms with Mr Trump.

However, while he rarely criticises the US president, he has not always been a vocal supporter of Mr Trump.

He previously called Mr Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the US "offensive and unconstitutional."

He also opposed the former business mogul's comments which suggested a judge's Mexican heritage prevented him getting a fair trial in a suit against Trump University, calling them "inappropriate."

The 61-year-old, who hails from Indiana, describes himself as a "deeply religious" Christian man, and has said he is "proud" to oppose abortion, and as governor of his home state he supported anti-abortion legislation.

Meanwhile, 55-year-old Mrs Harris, a former lawyer, has garnered a reputation as being one of the toughest interrogators in Congress, leaving no stone unturned after tearing into witnesses during Senate hearings.

As a supporter of Planned Parenthood, Mrs Harris has polar-opposite views on abortion.

She, unlike Mr Pence, has vowed to introduce a landmark plan to protect women's abortion rights and healthcare in the country that ensures coverage under public insurance plans.

The issue of abortion has taken on a renewed urgency, as the Senate considers, Amy Coney Barrett, Mr Trump's nominee for the empty Supreme Court seat left behind by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As a sitting senator, Mrs Harris is in a unique position, as she plays a role in deciding Mrs Barrett's fate ahead of the election.

It could very well be the final debate, before the election on 3 November, depending on how well Mr Trump recovers from Covid-19.