A group calling itself #LetsKeepTheSeat held rallies this week in Los Angeles and Sacramento urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill Kamala Harris’ senate seat with a Black woman — either Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee or Southern California Rep. Karen Bass.
The reported frontrunner for the appointment, however, is state Secretary of State Alex Padilla. If he receives the nod, Padilla would be the state’s first Latino senator.
The local push for Lee received the endorsement of Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker on Wednesday. “She has the experience, the courage, the commitment, the wisdom and the skill to be a force for justice, equity and enlightenment in the Senate,” Parker said.
Oakland Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Sheng Thao, and Noel Gallo, also urged Newsom to appoint Lee last month.
If Lee receives the appointment, there remains questions whether she could win an election to keep the seat in 2022. Although widely popular among progressives, her strongest support is localized in the East Bay. In addition, as odd as it might seem for deep blue California, Lee may also be too progressive to win a statewide race.