Dianne Feinstein Replacement Is in the Hands of Gavin Newsom – Rolling Stone

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom will get his second opportunity to appoint a U.S. senator with the death of the Golden State’s senior stateswoman on Thursday — putting him in a position he said he dreaded earlier this month. “I don’t want to make another appointment,” he told Meet The Press’s Chuck Todd. “I don’t think the people of California want me to make another appointment.”

In December 2020, Newsom appointed Alex Padilla, then California’s secretary of state, to fill the opening created by Kamala Harris’ ascension to the vice presidency. It was a controversial decision. In selecting Padilla, a longtime ally, Newsom ensured that Latinos, who make up 40 percent of the state’s population, had a U.S. senator who looked like them for the first time in state history. But his choice left the U.S. Senate without a single Black woman.

Newsom, who interned for Feinstein during college and later followed in her footsteps serving as mayor of San Francisco, called her “a dear friend, a lifelong mentor, and a role model not only for me, but to my wife and daughters for what a powerful, effective leader looks like,” in a statement on Friday that made no mention of his plans to appoint a successor. 

Feinstein’s passing comes in the midst of a heated primary to replace her, with Californians slated to vote for a Democratic nominee — and presumptive future senator — in March of next year. Three of the state’s highest profile U.S. Congress members — Reps. Barbara Lee of Oakland, Adam Schiff of Los Angeles, and Katie Porter of Orange County — are competing for the chance to fill Feinstein’s shoes. 

Newsom has already made two pledges about Feinstein’s seat. He’s said he would appoint a Black woman (“We have multiple names in mind,” Newsom told MSNBC’s Joy Reid in 2021), and, more recently, has said he will not consider appointing anyone who is running to replace Feinstein. 

“It would be completely unfair to the Democrats [who] have worked their tails off,” Newsom said in the same interview with Todd, adding that he didn’t wish to “tip the balance” of the primary. 

Lee — the only Black woman running to replace Feinstein — called Newsom’s comments “insulting.” The congresswoman, famous for her principled opposition to the Iraq War, is currently trailing Schiff and Porter in both polls and fundraising tallies. “If the governor intends to keep his promise and appoint a Black woman to the Senate, the people of California deserve the best possible person for that job. Not a token appointment. Black women deserve more than a participation trophy. We need a seat at the table,” Lee said earlier this month.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, whose name has been mentioned as a potential Newsom pick, has said she thinks the governor should “absolutely” name Lee — who was among those he reportedly considered to replace Harris in 2020 — to the newly vacated seat. Other names that have been floated include San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who has endorsed Lee’s bid for Feinstein’s seat, and Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who replaced Padilla in 2020.


In a statement on Friday, Lee called Feinstein “a fearless trailblazer with an iron backbone who led the charge on gun control and never stood down from her demands of transparency and accountability in American government.” She added that her congressional colleagues will remember Feinstein as “a fighter who led with strength, grace, and grit, but also a gentle presence in the chamber.”

Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry about his plans to fill Feinstein’s Senate seat.

Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/dianne-feinstein-replacement-gavin-newsom-1234835391/

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