California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that if Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) were to retire, he would choose a Black woman to replace her in the senate.
On Joy Reid’s MSNBC show on Monday, the TV host asked the Democratic governor whether, if Feinstein stepped down, he would “nominate an African American woman to restore the seat that Kamala Harris is no longer in in the United States Senate?”
“I have multiple names in mind,” Newsom said. “And the answer is yes.”
There are currently zero Black women in the Senate, ever since Harris became vice president in January.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on which names he might be considering.
It’s worth noting that Feinstein has not indicated that she would retire anytime soon. Her current term doesn’t end until January 2025.
There have been mounting calls for Feinstein to step down after progressive groups criticized her handling of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing. Late last year, Feinstein decided not to seek a leadership position on the Senate Judiciary Committee. There have also been concerns about Feinstein’s age — the 87-year-old lawmaker has served in the Senate since 1992.
Newsom chose Sen. Alex Padilla to fill Harris’s seat, making him California’s first Latino senator. Many had called for Harris’s replacement to be a Black woman, with some of the names floated including Reps. Karen Bass and Barbara Lee, as well as San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
Aimee Allison, founder of She the People, a group committed to getting more women of color into elected office, reacted to Newsom’s remarks with a “yes!” on Twitter.
“This is the personal pledge we Black women and women of color in California have been fighting for and the news we need to hear,” Allison said.