Sep 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Newsom doesn't want to appoint Senate replacement for Dianne Feinstein

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sunday he doesn't want to appoint a replacement for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and would only make an "interim appointment" if it were necessary.

Why it matters: Feinstein announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election in 2024, but the California senator has faced calls to step down before her term ends after a lengthy absence from Congress.

  • The 90-year-old senator's name has also been singled out in the conversation about imposing age limits or giving mental competency tests to some older politicians.

What he's saying: "I don't want to make another appointment. I don't think the people of California want to make another appointment," Newsom said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

  • Newsom said he would make an appointment to fill Feinstein's seat if he had to, but that none of those running in the crowded Senate race to replace her would be on the shortlist.
  • Appointing someone on the primary ballot "would be completely unfair to the Democrats that have worked their tail off. That primary is just a matter of months away. I don't want to tip the balance of that," Newsom said.
  • Newsom also said Feinstein, with whom he interned in college, is like a family member and he has "no objectivity whatsoever" when it comes to finishing her term in Congress.
  • "I leave it to her," to decide if she should leave office early, he said, but reiterated his previous commitment to appoint a Black woman to fill Feinstein's seat if required to do so.

Of note: A Berkeley IGS poll from last week conducted among likely voters in the upcoming 2024 primary had Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) at 20% and 17%. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) was ranked third with 7%.

  • 1 in 3 likely voters remain undecided, according to the poll.
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