In January the Californian senator of the Democratic Party of California, Kamala Harris, becomes vice-president and thus leaves her senate seat in the US Congress vacant. One man is responsible for filling this seat.
Under California electoral law, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom will have to fill Harris’s seat with someone who “has the qualifications for the office. That person will then remain in office for the remainder of Harris’s term, which ends in 2022.
In August, Newsom told reporters at a press conference that he was focusing on the new coronavirus pandemic, not on who he would appoint to fill Harris’s seat, as it was not due for another five months. But people are vying for the post.
During the same press conference, Newsom said it was only a “slight exaggeration” to say that a reporter might be the only person who did not propose himself as a replacement.
“I can’t be more pointed in private than I am in public. That is not what I am focusing on right now. I am focusing on what I need to focus on, and that is you and your health,” Newsom said.
Washington Newsday turned to Newsom to comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Newsom is also available for reelection in 2022, and it is possible that he will have this in mind when he makes his decision to fill Harris’s seat. During the August press conference, he applauded Harris – a woman he described as “an old friend of over a quarter of a century” – for her empathy, compassion, erudition and commitment to solving problems.
It is likely that Newsom will replace Harris with another Democrat, since voters elected her as a Democrat and California is a very blue state. Because of his praise of Harris, it is possible that he will also be looking for someone to emulate her.
Technically, Newsom cannot appoint anyone he wants. To meet the “Qualification for Office” requirement, the person must be at least 30 years old, have been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years, and be a California resident under the U.S. Constitution.
According to Politico, at least a dozen people are “seriously involved”, including California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Congresswoman Karen Bass, who was on Biden’s short list for vice president, was also on Newsom’s list, Politico reported.
Whoever is appointed by Newsom will have two years to build their profile before the 2022 election. Considering how democratically vacillating California is, the person who fills Harris’s seat has a good chance of keeping him in re-election.