California Gov. Gavin Newsom says that he will nominate an African American woman to the Senate if the state’s current senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, chooses to retire prior to her term ending.
Speaking with MSBNC’s Joy Ann Reid Monday evening, Newsom said he has “multiple names in mind” although he did not specify any one person.
Feinstein, 87, whose term is up in Jan. 2025, has faced calls from others to step down from her position but has shown no indication that she plans to leave before her time is up.
In fact, the Sacramento Bee reports that she filed fundraising paperwork last week, suggesting that she was possibly looking at another run for office, which renewed calls for her to retire.
Newsom faced criticism in December when he picked Sen. Alex Padilla to serve out the term of Kamala Harris in the Senate, who was moving on to become Vice President. Although Padilla was always a frontrunner for the job, many thought public servants like Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles and several others would be thought of to replace Harris.
“This is a real blow to the African American community, to African American women, to women in general, and I think it’s really challenging to put it in words,” San Francisco mayor London Breed told the Associated Press at the time.
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Newsom did pick an African American woman, Shirley Weber, a state assembly member, to succeed Padilla as Secretary of State. She became the fourth woman to hold the post in California history and the first Black woman to do so.
Meanwhile, the governor is also facing Republican recall efforts over his state stay-at-home orders during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic which restricted small businesses from staying open. His opponents say they have gathered more than one million signatures.
But Newsom has launched his own counter-campaign ad saying "anti-vaccine, Q-Anon extremists, violent white supremacists like the Proud Boys who attacked our nation's capitol Jan. 6,” are behind the recall, funded by the Republican National Committee.