Big California donors want to fill Kamala Harris’s Senate seat with a woman of color

Some of California’s biggest political donors are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to choose a woman of color to take the seat of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Given the scarcity of a Senate seat in the nation’s largest state, California officials have been working hard. trying to pressure Newsom since Harris was picked for the Democratic ticket this summer. And now lobbying is becoming more public.

On Monday, about 150 of the state’s top female donors will step up the pressure with a public letter to Newsom saying he shouldn’t replace Harris with a white woman, let alone a man.

“We urge you to continue this California tradition by appointing a woman of color to the seat of Vice President-elect Harris in the United States Senate,” write the donors in the letter, which will appear as a full-page ad in the two largest newspapers. of the state, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and was shared early on with Recode. “Women of color are the main drivers of electoral progress in our country, and their voices must be heard in the highest governing body in the country. California is fortunate to have a strong portfolio of women of color in elected office who are ready to serve; as Californians and political supporters, we look forward to your choosing one. “

The signatories of the letter – which is officially drafted by two donor groups, Electing Women Bay Area and Los Angeles Women’s Collective – include Silicon Valley psychiatrist Karla Jurvetson, one of the nation’s largest Democratic donors; Gretchen Sisson, sociologist and democratic fundraiser on the rise; Susan Pritzker, a descendant of the famous hotel family who funded Newsom’s ambitions for years; and Dagmar Dolby, the billionaire philanthropist.

The decision in front of Newsom could be one of the most politically difficult of his governorship. Newsom is also under pressure from Latino groups to nominate the first Hispanic Senator from California, and Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State, who is Hispanic, is considered one of the top contenders, in part because he is personally close to Newsom. Another possible choice for Latinos is California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Several women of color are believed to be Padilla’s contenders, including Karen Bass, a Los Angeles congresswoman who is black and was a finalist for Joe Biden’s runner-up selection; and Barbara Lee, a black congresswoman from Oakland known for her anti-war stance.

Senate seats in California don’t come back often. Harris’ counterpart in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein, has been in her seat for almost 30 years. Harris’s predecessor, Barbara Boxer, sat in hers for 25. So Newsom is likely fixing a decision that will survive her well.

Last month, Newsom lamented “The stress of having to choose between a lot of friends, of choosing between good candidates – and the fact that whichever one you choose, there will be a lot of people going to be upset.”