With California Sen. Kamala Harris now cemented as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate, Gov. Gavin Newsom could soon face the politically perilous decision of whom to select as her replacement in the U.S. Senate.
The appointment promises to be one of the most consequential of his political career, both in California and in regard to any ambitions he may have for the White House. And it puts him at risk of upsetting some of the most powerful forces within the Democratic Party no matter what he decides.
During a time of national reflection over the pervasive inequities and injustices suffered by Black Americans, Newsom will face significant pressure to appoint a Black woman to replace Harris. Harris is only the second Black woman in the nation’s history to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Conversely, an open seat would provide Newsom an opportunity to make history by appointing California’s first Latino senator. Though Latino public officials have ascended to other positions of power in California over the last two decades, the state’s most coveted political prizes — its two U.S. Senate seats and the governor’s office — have remained elusive.
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