Prominent African Americans officials would like California Gov. Gavin Newsom to pick Reps. Karen Bass or Barbara Lee to replace Harris, the only Black woman serving in the Senate. But many Latinos, who comprise a plurality of Californians, want Newsom to choose the first Latino or Latina senator in the state’s history, such as California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia or state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
The jockeying among various groups to promote their preferred candidates has already led to a tense fight within the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, as some members privately criticized what they viewed as heavy-handed tactics in its political arm’s endorsement of Padilla, several sources involved in the dispute told CNN.
Power players in the state said they were happy that California has such a deep, diverse bench of Democratic leaders. When asked if a consensus shortlist has emerged, Andrew Byrnes, a major Democratic bundler in California, joked, “It just depends on what you mean by ‘short.'”