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Home / US / Who will replace Kamala Harris in the Senate? : NPR

Who will replace Kamala Harris in the Senate? : NPR

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, left and California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2018. Newsom will appoint Harris’s successor in the Senate, a seat highly coveted by California Democrats.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

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Damian Dovarganes / AP

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, left and California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2018. Newsom will appoint Harris’s successor in the Senate, a seat highly coveted by California Democrats.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Speculation over who California Governor Gavin Newsom will choose to fill the remainder of Kamala Harris’ US Senate term if she is elected as vice president began almost the moment President-elect Joe Biden announced she was his candidate.

Now that Harris is the Vice President-elect, filling her Senate seats doesn’t matter if, but who and when. And what qualities should Newsom consider when making his most important political decisions as governor? Newsom’s considerations include diversity, geography, electoral capacity, and political compatibility.

Asked on Election Day about the possibility of choosing a successor, Newsom said he did not expect that.

“I mean, to be honest, I’m not even exaggerating. There are hundreds of jobs I like more. I’m not kidding,” Newsom joked.

“This is not something I want even with my worst enemy, because you create enemies in the process that you know, not just friends. And it’s a difficult decision. It was a challenge, “said Newsom.

Harris, who is elected to her first Senate term in 2016, will run again in 2022. Anyone Newsom chooses to replace her will have a couple of years in the Senate before running for office. (Newsom has ruled out a special election to fill the deadline).

Newsom longtime adviser Nathan Ballard said. “That wouldn’t be someone who looks like Gavin,” meant not a straight white man.

Now, after the death of George Floyd and Harris’s focus on removing racial prejudice from the criminal justice system, it seems likely to exclude people who are likely to join Senate as Rep. Adam Schiff, at least for the moment.

For Newsom, there are other practical considerations as well.

“Is it a caregiver, or someone who can turn the win? That is a qualified person who may not win but will be?” Newsom rhetorically asked.


Kamala Harris is the only black woman in the US Senate, so you can start there. Does Newsom want to replace her with someone that fits that criterion? In that case, the governor has certain choices.

Two Bay Area mayors in line with the bill, San Francisco’s London Breed, who won high marks for coronavirus pandemic handling and the Libby Schaaf in Oakland. Both Democrats have strong ties with Governor Newsom and are relatively young.

Rep. Karen Bass from Los Angeles is the chair of the Caucus Black Parliament. Bass saw her shares rise during the vice presidential test only to be knocked out by stories of her past comments involving Cuba and Fidel Castro.

But Bass, 67, is very popular with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in Congress, who have lobbied Biden’s censorship committee to choose her as his companion. And as former President of the State Congress, Bass is known as an effective legislator who has worked across party lines.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, who worked with Bass in the legislature, calls her “my favorite Democrat”, which, in the name of it The book is short, can not say much.

Then there are Rep. Barbara Lee, a longtime friend of Harris and a countryman Oaklander, who has represented his city in Congress since 1998. Lee, 74, is also close. Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party and the only member of Congress voted against allowing the use of force against President George W. Bush before the Iraq War.

Lee also helped close the gap between the leftist and moderate party divisions in 2016 after Hillary Clinton won the nomination. That could make her more acceptable to all parts of the California Democratic Party.

Silicon Valley Rep. Ro Khanna, 44, was also the one who rose after crushing veteran Congressman Mike Honda in 2016. Like Harris, Khanna is Indian-American and co-chaired the campaign. National President of Bernie Sanders this year.

One argument against Breed, Schaaf, Bass, and Lee, however, is that none of them have never done a statewide campaign in California, which is a daunting task of state size and limb. successful operating fee.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla has been rumored to be coveted for a US Senate seat and a longtime friend and supporter of Newsom. Padilla chaired Newsom’s campaign to cancel governor in 2010 before Jerry Brown jumped in. Padilla was also an early supporter of Newsom while he was running for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and others in 2018.

“Gavin Newsom has a few close friends,” Ballard noted. “And Alex is one of them. He’s part of that ring.”

Padilla interned for Senator Dianne Feinstein and at the age of 26 was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Two years later, he became the youngest person ever elected president of the city council.

Padilla, 47, just oversees a complicated election where, for the first time, every registered voter is sent a vote-by-mail ballot. However, the Secretary of State was recently entangled in controversy over a $ 35 million contract for nonpartisan voter outreach transferred to a company affiliated with Joe Biden. The extent to which Newsom’s sweeping impacted is unclear.

But as Ballard said, Padilla is near the top of Newsom’s list. Ballard said: “He qualifies excellently for the position, and of all the candidates he is a senator,” meaning he believes Padilla sounds like a senator.

Ballard notes that anyone Newsom chooses will be on the ballot in 2022 when the governor is re-elected. “It’s almost like having a partner in the race,” he said, adding he wouldn’t want to designate someone who would be a drag on his own campaign. Padilla ran for the state office twice and won both times.

Another point in Padilla’s favor: It’s two for. If Newsom chose him, or another statewide office worker, he would also be given an alternate name for that office.

Other choices

Los Angeles State Senator Holly Mitchell would be a more dynamic and youthful alternative to Harris. As Chairman of the State Senate Budget Committee, Mitchell is a strong and effective advocate of social justice, working mothers and low-income earners. But Mitchell, 56, just elected to the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors doesn’t seem to give that up before she is sworn in.

Newsom, who said he was awash in the subtle and not too subtle seduction of those to be appointed, called the decision “vexed” for all the dynamics involved.

“In this case, you already have voters for Kamala Harris. And so is it [someone] in her picture? Would you like to expand that story? “Newsom wondered loudly.

Newsom, who was recently nominated for a black, openly gay judge to the California Supreme Court, seems to love making history. In that case, he has several options including:

  • Toni Atkins, President of the State Senate, is a 58-year-old Democrat in San Diego, and President of State Congress is a lesbian and a longtime Newsom ally.
  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, 42, is Latino (Peruvian American) and the city’s first openly gay mayor. He lost both of his parents to COVID and has a compelling personal story.

Others believed to be eyeing this US Senate chair or chair held by 87-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein include:

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Jewish and Mexican American. He co-chaired the Biden’s vice-presidential search committee. Many assumed he could be a member of Biden’s cabinet although he recently said “more likely than not” that he would end his term, which expires in 2022.
  • Los Angeles Rep. Adam Schiff was in the media as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment process. At the age of 60, he could certainly wait for Senator Feinstein to leave her Senate seat before running on his own.
  • Eleni Kounalakis is a relatively newcomer to statewide politics, elected as the state’s first Female Governor in 2018 in her first election. However, Kounalakis, 54, is no stranger to Democratic Party politics, serving as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Hungary from 2010-13.
  • Attorney General Xavier Becerra replaced Harris as the state’s top law enforcement official when she was elected to the US Senate. Becerra raised her profile by challenging the Trump administration’s policies in court. Becerra, 62, was elected to Congress in 1992, representing Los Angeles for 24 years. But when asked about going back to Washington, he said that he prefers living in Sacramento.

While Governor Newsom kept an eye on these potential options for political advancement, he has long kept an eye on higher positions. Many believe that he found himself running for president someday, though that choice appeared to be heralded at this time when Harris took the throne.

But the former San Francisco mayor is still quite popular with voters, receiving a 57% approval rating in an October survey from California’s Institute of Public Policy. He may decide to run for the US Senate when Feinstein leaves.

In any case, Newsom said on Election Day that he was delighted for Harris, who has been a sort of “liberal enemy” or political rival since he was mayor of the city and she was a lawyer. city ​​district.

“I have never seen her happier, more confident, more relaxed,” Newsom said. “She has her element. And you feel it. You see that. And so I couldn’t be happier for her. And that means profoundly for the state.”

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