With Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) the vice president elect, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) must now choose someone to take her place in the Senate — and political watchers believe his pick will likely make history.
Under California state law, Newsom can fill Harris' seat for the remainder of her term, which ends in 2022. California is a solidly blue state, and it's highly probable the person he selects will win the seat outright in two years. Newsom does have the option of calling for a special election, but is not expected to do so.
Newsom is "never shy about making a political splash," the Los Angeles Times notes, and he has a slew of Democratic state lawmakers to choose from. Harris is only the second Black woman to ever serve in the U.S. Senate, so he could pick another Black woman, like Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. He could also choose the state's first Latino senator, and many see California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla as top candidates. Newsom was also a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage during his time as mayor of San Francisco, and he could pick someone who is openly gay.
Newsom has until January to make his decision, and in a statement released Saturday morning, it's clear that he admires Harris. "She's tough, she's passionate, she's persistent, and she's devoted a lifetime to the highest American ideal of justice for all," he said. "Today, her ceiling-shattering accomplishment will put wings on the aspirations and imaginations of young women and people of color all across this country and around the world."
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