Who will Gov. Gavin Newsom select to fill high-ranking seats?

December 7, 2020

Gov. Gavin Newsom

In the aftermath of United States Sen. Kamala Harris being elected vice president, California Gov. Gavin Newsom could have three high-ranking statewide office seats to fill, a first in decades. [Politico]

Newsom is now expected to select replacements for both Harris and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, following an announcement that President-Elect Joe Biden has selected Becerra to serve as secretary of health and human services in his administration. Becerra’s appointment to the Biden administration post would require Senate confirmation.

The frontrunner to replace Becerra as attorney general is California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who is a longtime friend and supporter of Newsom. If Newsom were to appoint Padilla to the Senate, he would then have to select a new secretary of state as well.

While Padilla is considered the frontrunner to replace Harris, it is not certain Newsom will select him. Women’s groups are lobbying for Newsom to appoint a woman of color to the Senate to replace Harris.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown has also called for Newsom to select a black woman to replace Harris. Brown previously said the leading black female choices to replace Harris are congresswomen Barbara Lee, Karen Bass and Maxine Waters; San Francisco Mayor London Breed; and state Sen. Holly Mitchell.

However, if appointed, Padilla would be California’s first-ever Latino senator, something Latino groups say is long overdue.

In the battle now taking shape over replacing Becerra as attorney general, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is a leading candidate. Other candidates include Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Jared Huffman, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Ted Lieu, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, Assemblyman David Chiu, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, state Sen. Scott Wiener, outgoing state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and former state lawmaker Martha Escutia.

Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Gonzalez and Assemblyman Evan Low, who have launched 2022 campaigns for Secretary of State, are among the possible choices for a replacement for Padilla if Newsom were to appoint him to the Senate. Other possible choices for a new secretary of state could be Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and San Francisco Mayor Breed.

California State Library legislative historian Alex Vassar said the amount of appointment power Newsom currently enjoys is a first in nearly 70 years.


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Fleet

Sure is nauseating reading the names of all these dysfunctional politicians from California in the same news story.


Sulla

1. Governor Newsom may want to appoint himself to the Senate, then California would have the first female governor, Eleni Kounalakis. He is working harder being governor than he has ever worked before. He must be exhausted. The job of a Senator would be cushy in comparison.


2. Becerra taking Health & Human services suggests that he thinks it would be easier to get elected to the Senate in 2024 (Dianne Feinstein turns 90 in 2023) after 2 years as a cabinet member instead of remaining as Attorney General. – – – Which means Gavin may not have a clear shot to advance to the Senate in 2024.


3. Padilla is not qualified to be Attorney General because he is not a lawyer. If she becomes Governor, Eleni might appoint him Lt. Governor.


4. As for Attorney General, Nancy Pelosi proposed Xavier Becerra in 2017 to keep him from eyeing the Speaker’s job. So I expect her to nominate an ambitious someone she wants out of the House Democratic Caucus. (My bet is Ro Khanna).


5. All in all, the best choice for the Senate would be State Controller Betty Yee.


Rambunctious

Does it really matter at this point?…California is a one party state…maybe one day that will change if we do away with voting machines vote harvesting and start checking ID to vote….I guess we have to hit rock bottom again to wake folks up…


sbjcl

Experience and Qualifications should have nothing to do with it. These decisions will made based on race and gender.


mullyman

Here is a novel idea. How about appointing someone that can do the job for the” PEOPLE ” and not your buddies,highest money giver or anyone of certain race just to appease some body. It doesn’t matter what race or party a person is, if the person can do the job well for the ” PEOPLE ” then appt. them. Lots of luck in doing that they want to fill the swamp with same type of lops that only care about the party and themselves.


Jorge Estrada

I think it time to select a red head for these vacated positions. Red heads are too often discriminated against for fear of them getting mad and causing a scene.


Adam Trask

Hey Luuuucyyyy, you got some ‘splainin to do.


Jorge Estrada

Yes, laughter is the best therapy.