Feinstein passed away at the age of 90 on Thursday evening, and the public was informed on Friday morning. Since then, Newsom has been in the spotlight as he must appoint someone to serve out the remaining 13 months of Feinstein’s term. Last week, the two-term governor was attending the second GOP debate in Simi Valley on behalf of President Biden’s reelection campaign to lead counter Republican messaging.
Newsom previously announced his intent to appoint a black woman to the Senate in March of 2021 when Feinstein was suffering from health complications. He reiterated that pledge last month, adding that he would only appoint someone who was not actively campaigning for the seat.
Newsom reportedly has intentions to run at a national scale but has repeatedly stated that he will not run against Biden in 2024, with rumors saying he has his eyes set on 2028.
Newsmax and The Desert Sun both reported that Winfrey’s name was being floated for the role, but the TV host and entrepreneur has previously indicated that she “is not considering the seat should it become vacant,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Sources also told the Daily Mail that Markle, the former duchess of Sussex, has been named for consideration as Feinstein’s replacement. She currently resides with Prince Harry in Montecito, California.
“Meghan is definitely a long-shot but in the craziness that is US politics these days it’s not an impossibility. Crazier things have happened,” a major Democratic donor told the Mail.
However, Markle has reportedly been in consideration for the U.S. Senate since before the 2020 election. At the time, reports said that Markle had been “networking among senior Democrats,” and was seeking to build a grassroots campaign eventually targeting a presidential bid of her own.
“Meghan is interested in politics more than anything else. That’s where she believes her power is, but she has had to focus on making money,” the unnamed source is quoted to have said.
Among the serious contenders for the seat is Rep. Barbara Lee, a prominent black woman currently serving in elected office in the state. However, Lee was already running for Feinstein’s seat, and therefore appointing her would fly contrary to Newsom’s previous commitment, putting the governor in a difficult situation.
Should Newsom choose a candidate who is not running for the seat, he could choose a true caretaker for the position who would be replaced by whomever voters select in next year’s election. However, Lee and others have lashed out at Newsom over his plan to select a caretaker rather than a long-term replacement.
“The idea that a Black woman should be appointed only as a caretaker to simply check a box is insulting to countless Black women across this country who have carried the Democratic Party to victory election after election,” Lee posted on X.
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