Some of California's largest political donors are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to elect a woman of color to fill the seat of elected Vice President Kamala Harris.
Given the rarity of a Senate seat vacant in the nation's largest state, California leaders have worked hard to stand up for Newsom since Harris was selected for the Democracy Ticket this summer. And now lobbying is becoming more public.
On Monday, about 150 of the state's largest female donors will step up the pressure with a public letter to Newsom saying he shouldn't replace Harris with a white woman, no matter how a man is.
"We urge you to continue this Californian tradition by appointing a woman of color to the seat of the US Senate of Vice-President-Elect Harris," write the donors in the letter, which will appear as a full-page advertisement in the state's two largest newspapers Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and was shared with Recode early on. "Women of color are the main drivers of electoral progress in our country, and their voices should be heard in the highest government body in the country. California is fortunate to have a strong pipeline of colored women in elected office ready to serve. As Californians and political supporters, we look forward to your choosing one of them. "
The letter, officially written by two donor groups, Electing Women Bay Area and Los Angeles Women & # 39; s Collective, has signed the letter, including Silicon Valley psychiatrist Karla Jurvetson, one of the largest Democratic donors in the country. Gretchen Sisson, sociologist and aspiring democratic fundraiser; Susan Pritzker, a member of the famous hotel family that has funded Newsom's ambitions for years; and Dagmar Dolby, the billionaire philanthropist.
The decision before Newsom could be one of the most politically difficult in his governorship. Newsom is also under pressure from Latino groups to appoint California's first Hispanic senator, and Alex Padilla, California's secretary of state who is Hispanic, is considered a top contender, also because he is personally close to Newsom. Another possible choice for Latino is California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
There are several women of color believed to compete with Padilla, including Karen Bass, a Los Angeles congresswoman who is black and was selected as a finalist for Joe Biden's vice presidential selection. and Barbara Lee, a black Oakland Congresswoman known for her antiwar stance.
Senate seats in California aren't that common. Harris' Senate counterpart Dianne Feinstein has held her seat for nearly 30 years. Harris' predecessor, Barbara Boxer, sat in hers for 25 years. So Newsom is likely to make a decision that will outlast it.
Last month, Newsom complained about "the stress of having to choose between lots of friends and quality candidates – and the fact that there will be lots of people who will be upset whoever you choose."
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