As it becomes more likely that California Sen. Kamala Harris will take the reins as America’s newest vice president in January, she’ll leave behind a vacant and powerful California seat in the U.S. Senate which has captured the attention of more than a few likely candidates.
According to the Daily Wire, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) recently confirmed her interest in the soon-to-be-open seat, even tweeting recently that “it would be an honor” to fill Harris’ Senate seat and finish the remainder of her freshman Senate term.
Lee’s interest in the seat comes as California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is under pressure by Black Lives Matter to fill the vacant seat with another woman of color, as the Daily Wire reported earlier.
Why Barbara Lee?
For many reasons, Democrats might consider Lee to be a fitting replacement for Harris, as she’s been labeled the “most politically left” lawmaker in the House of Representatives. That matches up with a previous designation given to Harris in the Senate, having been labeled the “most liberal” senator in 2019 by GovTrackInsider.
Lee, who has represented her California district — to include the city of Oakland — for over 20 years, appears anxious to make the leap to the upper chamber of Congress, tweeting her desire while citing a recent opinion piece that made an argument about why she’d be the best fit.
“It would be an honor to fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s role in the Senate. I know Gov. Gavin Newsom will pick the person he believes best represents California,” Lee tweeted on Thursday.
While Lee may be one of the top candidates for the position, especially given her decades of experience in the House, Black Lives Matter is also pressuring Newsom to consider other persons of color for the job, including leftist Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA).
The activist group was clear on their desire to have a Black woman fill the seat, recently sending a stern message to Newsom that “appointing a Black woman to this seat is nonnegotiable.”
Why does everyone want it?
Harris’ Senate seat is nothing short of a grand prize for any Democrat that Newsom selects to fill it, as the person who takes the seat can essentially hold on to it for as long as they want, given that there’s no real chance of Republican opposition in the Democrat stronghold of California.
All one has to do is look at the stats of other California senators who made very long careers in their Senate seats, like former Sen. Barbara Boxer who served four terms before bowing out, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has served a staggering six terms.
In other words, California Senate seats are liquid gold and have the rare security of going mostly unchallenged by any real competition during reelection season. While Lee is obviously comfortable in her House seat, making the jump to the Senate would definitely be considered leveling up.
Of course, it’s not a done deal yet, as President Donald Trump’s lawyers are actively attempting to convince judges that the 2020 presidential election should be overturned. While it would take a miracle to reverse the results at this point, it might be wise for Democrats to let the dust settle before picking chairs.