California Governor Gavin Newsom has publicly committed to nominating a Black woman to the United States Senate if Senator Dianne Feinstein decides to retire. Newsom made the commitment to do so during an interview with MSNBC anchor Joy Reid.
"If Dianne Feinstein were to retire, will you nominate an African American woman to restore the seat that Kamala Harris is no longer in the Senate? And do you have a name in mind?" Reid asked.
"We have multiple names in mind, the answer is yes," Newsom replied.
Newsom's commitment to nominating a Black woman to work in the Senate comes after he received criticism for his last Senate nomination. After Sen. Kamala Harris left her seat to serve as the Vice President, there were no Black women remaining in the Senate. Instead of nominating a Black woman to replace Harris, Newsom nominated Sen. Alex Padilla. His decision drew criticism from several Black women in politics. San Francisco Mayor London Breed called the nomination “a real blow to the African American community.”
“If Governor Newsom thinks our disappointment with the Kamala Harris replacement will be tempered by appointing an African American woman to be California secretary of state, he clearly does not know this constituency,” Democratic consultant Kerman Maddox said.
While Newsom's commitment to nominating a Black woman to replace Feinstein if she retires is honorable, it does have some clear flaws. Most notably, Sen. Feinstein has not publicly stated that she would retire. While others have questioned her ability to serve the state of California, she has remained steadfast in her commitment to serving the remainder of her term. Furthermore, her term runs until 2025. Adding on, Newsom is up for re-election in 2022. While he is favored to win, he wouldn't be able to nominate any potential replacement in 2023, 2024 or 2025 if he does not prevail in the upcoming election.
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