It has been expected for months that California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is very likely to step into Harris’ seat. But it is also assumed that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Rep. Karen Bass, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia should be watched.
California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom picks Harris’ Senate replacement. It has been reported that Newsom can select himself.
Therefore there is an intense influence in California to put a Latino or Latina for Harris’s seat. Forty percent of California is Latino.
There are also geographic factors. Southern California has more people. But someone from Southern California hasn't served the Golden State in the Senate since former Sen. Pete Wilson, R-Calif., in the early 1990s – and he was from San Diego. The Los Angeles metro area has long felt left out compared to the Bay area to the north. Furthermore, there are concerns that particularly Padilla may not be progressive enough to persuade liberal groups.
Thus, California may soon be looking at two open Senate seats.
Multiple Congressional sources say that they expect 87-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to drop out before the end of her session.
Feinstein was reelected in 2018 and is the oldest senator.
There was a notable complaint among liberals over how Feinstein handled the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. Many liberals scrutinized Feinstein for not being more proactive. They were especially angered at Feinstein hugging Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at the end of the hearing. They were also outraged about Feinstein telling Graham that the Barrett exercise was “one of the best sets of hearings that I’ve participated in.”
Some liberals have called for Senate Democrats to remove her as the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel.
A prominent Democrat told that all of the California Democrats politicians want a Senate seat, implying even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti would love a California Senate seat.
However, the Democratic source says there is an optics issue claiming you cannot replace Kamala Harris, the first black woman to be elected vice president, with someone like Rep. Adam Schiff. Yet if Feinstein is going to be removed, then two California Democrats could be heading to the Senate.
Still, no one knows if a possible opening could come sooner or later, or, at all. There has been an initial talk about some sort of position (not Cabinet level) for Feinstein in a Biden administration.
Newsom could choose between a moderate Democrat and a liberal Democrat. Or, satisfy the northern/southern geographical concern. Or, put a Latino/Latina and an African American.