California Democrats are holding Gov. Gavin Newsom to his promise to nominate a Black woman to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein if she resigns before the end of her term.
"I'm sure Gov. Newsom has a plan to appoint an African-American female," Vilma Dawson, a longtime supporter of the governor, told CNN this weekend, after Newsom spoke at the California Democratic Party Convention. "I don't think the governorship is where he's going to stop his political career. People have long memories as to whether they can trust someone to support, shall we say, promises that they made."
Newsom told MSNBC in 2021 that he would nominate a Black woman for Feinstein's seat if the vacancy comes open.
Feinstein, 89, returned to Capitol Hill this month after being away for several months after a shingles infection left her with complications from encephalitis and Ramsay Hunt syndrome. California Democrats were talking over the weekend about her future and what Newsom will do.
"We do believe that Gov. Newsom will keep his promise. We have known him to be a man of his word," said Democrat strategist Kimberly Ellis, who is part of an effort by Black party members who are lobbying Newsom on the replacement.
There are currently no Black female senators. Two have served in the Senate: Carol Moseley Braun from 1993-1996, and Kamala Harris, who left to become the vice president.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., has already declared her candidacy for Feinstein's seat. Feinstein has already said she will not seek reelection in 2024.
Lee said at the convention this weekend that her campaign will be backed by a "multigenerational, multiracial, progressive coalition" and said it is "outrageous" that there are no Black women in the Senate.
However, she declined to push Newsom on any choice he makes to nominate a successor for Feinstein.
"I'm not going to get involved in his process," Lee told CNN. "He made a commitment. But I'm focused on this campaign. I am running to win this election."
Two other sitting members of Congress, Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter, are also vying for the nomination in the election for Feinstein's seat, and both are well-known in California and nationwide.
Schiff was the lead prosecutor in former President Donald Trump's first impeachment trial and has been endorsed by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Schiff said he has questions about how Feinstein's decision on whether to resign could impact his political future, particularly as Pelosi's oldest daughter, Nancy Corinne Prowda, has been pictured assisting Feinstein at the Senate.
Schiff said he's trying to ignore the reports about a potential Newsom appointment, and said he thinks voters will want to be the ones choosing Feinstein's replacement.
Porter, meanwhile, said she assumes Newsom will keep his promise and that she's grateful that Feinstein has been able to return to Washington.
However, Porter said the campaign is not about what happens in the upcoming months, but about the "next six years and the next 60 years for California."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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