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As First Female Vice President-Elect, Kamala Harris Rewrites Script for Presidential Politics

 November 9, 2020 at 10:23 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 As Camilla Harris moves into her newly elected position. As the first woman, vice president, California will be looking for a new Senator. Speculation has already started about who governor Newsome may tap to fill Harris's seat. And that appointment may also break new ground. Johnnie Mae is Phil Wilson, who covers governor Gavin Newsome and California politics for the Los Angeles times. Phil, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me now, remind us if you would give us a tutorial how our Senate seats filled when there's a vacancy between elections in California. Speaker 2: 00:36 Uh, well there are two options. One is governor Newsome could call a special election, no one expects that to happen. Um, the other is he has the authority to appoint, um, a replacement who will serve out the remainder of her term the next two, two years. And that's what everyone expects. He could theoretically appoint someone who would just serve the two years and then stepped down kind of a placeholder. But again, no one expects that to happen. This is, this is one of the most coveted political posts in the state of California. It will impact his political legacy as well as whoever he appoints. Speaker 1: 01:11 Just a follow up question on that. Does the governor's appointment have to be confirmed by anyone if he does choose to go that way? Does it have to be confirmed by California legislators? Speaker 2: 01:21 No, it's an executive appointment. So, um, he could do the same thing I understand with, I think, County supervisors as well. Speaker 1: 01:28 Now several names have already been floated as possible replacements for Camila Harris. One of them is Congresswoman Karen Bass. She was also apparently on Joe Biden's shortlist for vice president. Speaker 2: 01:43 Um, she's a Los Angeles, uh, Congresswoman who used to serve as the, um, speaker of the assembly up here in Sacramento. Uh, very well-regarded and democratic circles known as a kind of a real legislator. Someone who works well with others, um, within our party, even some Republicans as well. She is part of the, kind of the political power base in LA growing up over the past 30 years, she was tight with, um, former LA mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa among others. She she's someone that a lot of people think is a rising star in the party. Um, she didn't get over the finish line with the BP, um, selection, obviously. So this may be, it won't be real consolation prize, but it would be, uh, it kind of put her in the minds of, uh, everyone nationally. Speaker 1: 02:33 And I suppose one consideration to appointing someone from Congress if for a democratic governor would be whether or not that's a safe democratic seat is that Karen Bass is a seat safe for a Democrat. Speaker 2: 02:46 Yes, it's, it's very safe. Same with Barbara Lee in the East Bay area, up, up into the Oakland area. That's opposed to someone like Katie Porter who is really well like is a good fundraiser. Um, again, another rising star in the democratic party who has a lot of the recognition in the state and nationwide, but she's in art, she's in a Republican leaning district. And, um, the expectation is, uh, that her Oliver elections going forward will be hotly contested, especially in 2022, which is a kind of a midterm election when usually the opposing party who whoever's in the white house, uh, make some gains. So, um, I'm sure that speaker Pelosi would want to lose another member of the democratic caucus. Speaker 1: 03:35 Now California's attorney general, Javier Bissera could also be tapped to fill Harris's seat. Would his appointment be a first for California in it? Speaker 2: 03:46 Yeah. California has never had a Latino or Latina a us Senator. It would be a first. And he's one of the names that we keep hearing who's on the short list, along with secretary of state Alex Padilla, as far as the statewide officer and, uh, either it would be historic Speaker 1: 04:04 Javier Bissera used to work in Washington, right? What was his previous position? Speaker 2: 04:09 He was a long time Congressman from Los Angeles. I remember before I came to the LA times, I used to work for the paper in Tampa, Florida. And I remember as in the mid nineties interviewing them about Chiba policy and other policies. So he used, he knows, knows the turf really well. One thing you see a lot of speculation now that, um, about who would be in president Biden's cabinet and his name pops up there as well as a potential attorney general or head of Homeland security. Yeah. Speaker 1: 04:38 One of the people on your list in, in your LA times, article is long beach mayor, Robert Garcia. He probably doesn't have the profile of some of the other people that we've been talking about. Why is he on your list as a possible replacement for Harris? Speaker 2: 04:54 He is a very loyal ally of, um, governor Newsome. He endorsed him early on in the 2018 governor's race. Uh, one of the, one of the first major Latino politicians in the state to do so, um, along with Alex Padilla as well, he's also, uh, an openly gay mayor of long beach and his, his appointment along with being Latino, um, being openly gay would be a historic appointment for the us Senate. Um, he has a compelling story about his mother and stepfather both passed away because of COVID. So he has firsthand knowledge of the destruction of that virus and the devastation that it causes. And, um, but primarily, I mean, it's because he has been a longtime backer of, uh, Gavin minutiae. That's what kind of made him rise. I still think he's kind of, I don't want to say a long shot, maybe a medium shot, but you never know. Speaker 1: 05:48 So perhaps a long shot on, on your list is Senate president pro tem, Tony Atkins from San Diego who is also openly gay. And she's mentioned your list. So what strengths do you think she would bring to the job? Speaker 2: 06:01 Uh, well, she's, uh, she's a very able legislator. She's been leading the Senate really well. She's aligned with, uh, governor Newsome on a lot of, a lot of progressive issues. One of which is affordable housing, which is one of her main political goals and priorities up here in Sacramento. They've had some bumps in the road between the two. I remember covering some legislation where, um, the governor kind of, and her did not get along. I wouldn't put her in the top tier of a potential replacement, but Newsome has been holding all this really close to the vest. So it's hard to tell, uh, what considerations he'll take into account Speaker 1: 06:37 Phil considering the close number between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Governor Newsome would probably want to pick a replacement quickly. What's the timeframe on an appointment? Speaker 2: 06:47 Well, um, he doesn't, a lot of it depends on when Harris will S we'll step down. You have the, I think the electoral college doesn't officially vote and award of electors until December. So it probably wouldn't be before that the new Congress is sworn in, in early January. But again, Harish is an incumbent senators. Her term is not over, so she doesn't have to step down until the second before she gets sworn in as vice-president. And, um, I guess there's the potential that Newsome could just name, uh, her successor tomorrow, just as someone in waiting. And the expectation is that it'll be a while before that happens. There's also the uncertainty of having a, uh, a lame duck president and the Republican majority now. And what that all means. Speaker 1: 07:33 I've been speaking with a reporter of Phil will on with the Los Angeles times. And Phil, thank you so much. Thank you. KQBD politics editor. Scott Schafer looks at the extraordinary career of Senator Kamala Harris and how the Biden Harris victory will allow her to break through the glass ceiling. That's kept other female candidates from attaining the vice presidency. Speaker 3: 07:55 The rise of Kamala Harris from San Francisco district attorney in 2004 to vice president elect in 2020 is truly an only in America kind of story. And one that may transform the notion of what a winning presidential ticket looks like forever. Speaker 4: 08:11 Having Senator Harris on the ticket was a complete game changer. Speaker 3: 08:15 Amy, Alison of she, the people in Oakland based organization, which advocates for women of color in politics, while it may take a while to verify the final vote count in places like Georgia and Arizona, Alison thinks Harris deserves a lot of credit for getting Biden over the finish line. Speaker 4: 08:32 Kamala Harris brought with her black women, Latinas, Asian Americans, immigrants. She brought so many people who saw the kind of country, the kind of government they want through her candidacy Speaker 3: 08:45 Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica who was born in Oakland inspires a lot of hometown pride from the city's mayor. Libby, chef president Kamala Harris Speaker 4: 08:56 Will mean everything for a city like Oakland. Yeah. Speaker 3: 08:59 As a longtime friend and supporter of Harris, who she says, we'll present Oakland in a more Speaker 4: 09:05 In such sharp contrast to Donald Trump's. Every mention of Oakland is a libelous slander of our diversity of our safety of our reputation. And she never hesitate to celebrate her roots as an Oaklander Speaker 3: 09:25 Joe Biden named Harris as his running mate, she has not surprisingly faced vicious attacks. And name-calling president Trump called her a monster. Trump, Georgia, Senator David Perdue, and many others deliberately mispronounce her name in anticipation of the nastiness and personal attacks directed at Senator Harris, Sacramento, lobbyists, Samantha Corbin notes. There was a concerted effort to discourage the media's use of tropes and discriminatory labels. Speaker 4: 09:54 I will tell you, there was a pretty robust campaign of advocates who came out and said, literally, we've got her back and really started pushing back on that type of coverage. Speaker 3: 10:06 Governor Gavin Newsome knows Kamel Harris. Well from the days when he was mayor of San Francisco and she was district attorney Newsome hailed, the Biden Harris victory as a critical moment for California. And yeah, Speaker 4: 10:18 I just couldn't be more happy for her. It's a profoundly significant for the state Speaker 3: 10:23 Kratz will have a long to-do list on issues ranging from the pandemic to economic recovery, climate change, and more, their failure to win control of the Senate will hamper that agenda. But Samantha Corbin, who helped expose the culture of bias, harassment and abuse aimed at women in Sacramento calls Harris's rise to vice-president elect a pivotal moment. Speaker 4: 10:45 This will change for generations, how young women think about themselves and their place in this country and their place in politics. And that's really an amazing thing. Speaker 3: 10:55 The nation is still getting to know Kamala Harris and how impressions of her are shaped in the coming years will help determine if there is yet another higher office in her future. Speaker 4: 11:06 That was KQBD politics editor, Scott Schafer,

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The rise of Kamala Harris from underdog candidate for San Francisco district attorney in 2003 to vice president-elect of the United States in 2020 is truly an “only in America” kind of story, and one that may forever transform the notion of what a winning presidential ticket looks like.
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