The most left-wing member of the House of Representatives has publicly signaled interest in serving as the next U.S. senator from California, saying that “it would be an honor” if she was selected to finish the term of freshman Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Congresswoman Barabara Lee (D-CA), who has represented Oakland since 1998, showed her interest in a Twitter statement Thursday. According to GovTrack, Lee was the “most politically left” member of the House of Representatives in 2019.
“It would be an honor to fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s role in the Senate. I know Gov. Gavin Newsom will pick the person he believes best represents California,” said Lee, tweeting an opinion piece that argued in favor of her serving in the Senate seat.
It would be an honor to fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s role in the Senate. I know Gov. Gavin Newsom will pick the person he believes best represents California. https://t.co/g8IaRbtdy3
— Barbara Lee (@BLeeForCongress) November 20, 2020
From the Newsweek Opinion article:
This is no time to reverse the progress that has been made. Black women were crucial to delivering the White House and key down-ballot races, and Lee has been a fierce champion for marginalized communities as the chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity; an advocate for ending HIV, authoring or co-authoring every major piece of HIV/AIDS legislation; and a member of the Budget Committee and Appropriations Committee. She would be one of the most experienced elected leaders to enter the Senate.
She helped bridge the divide between the more left-leaning and moderate parts of the Democratic Party in 2016, for example, after Hillary Clinton won the nomination, solidifying the importance of her role to all parts of the California Democratic Party, building upon her popularity among her constituents and peers, and earning respect among those who hadn’t heard of her until then.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement have been calling on Newsom to appoint a black woman to the seat, and have specifically named Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Lee as potential picks.
The looming California vacancy has also drawn attention from other big names in state politics, including Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is reportedly also under consideration to be the next U.S. attorney general.
While the average senator of the most recent Congress has been in their position for 10 years, any person who was selected to fill the U.S. Senate seat would likely have the opportunity to hold onto it as long as they wish, a factor of the Democratic Party’s enduring dominance of California politics.
For example, former Senator Barbara Boxer (D) served four terms in the Senate before retiring, and Dianne Feinstein (D), the oldest member of the Senate, has won six races for her seat, including the 1992 special election that kicked off her D.C. career.
Newsom may also consider elevating a lower-profile candidate to the position, such as San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, or former California Senate Leader Kevin de León.