LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Now that California Sen. Kamala Harris has been named presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate for the 2020 election, many are wondering who will fill her senate seat if they win.
“There is a plethora of candidates,” Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst, said.
The first name that comes to her mind is U.S. Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles.
“Not only her service in Congress, but her service as the first Black woman speaker of the lower house of the State Legislature,” she said.
And Kerman Maddox, a communications consultant and super delegate to the Democratic National Committee, agrees that Bass could be a serious contender for the role.
“She gives him a three-for,” he said. “One, she’s a woman. Two, she’s African American. And, three, it shores up his bonafides here in Southern California.”
But Maddox also said he thinks there will be a lot of people vying for the position, leaving Gov. Gavin Newsom with a big decision if he’s called upon to appoint her replacement.
“Gavin Newsom would be making a very important, historical appointment, be it an African American woman or a person of color,” he said.
But when asked about the possible appointment, Newsom deflected Wednesday, saying the potential decision was still a long time off.
“Last I looked, it’s August of 2020,” he said, stating that he was currently focused on mitigating the spread of coronavirus throughout the state.
Though Bebeitch Jeffe said there was no way Newsom has not already been thinking about possible senate appointments in the event Sen. Dianne Feinstein were to retire before the end of her term.
“I can’t believe it’s the furthest thing from his mind,” she said.
Some of the other names being floated were U.S. Rep. Katie Porter of Orange County, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla — a former Los Angeles City Council president and state senator.
In a statement, Padilla said it would be an honor to be considered for the role, though he said he was currently focused on the upcoming election.
“This is the most consequential election of our lifetime,” he said.
If Biden and Harris win in November, the person chosen to fill Harris’ vacated senate seat will serve out the remainder of her term which ends in Jan. 2023.