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Rep. Adam Schiff. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Adam Schiff is quietly lobbying Gov. Gavin Newsom and his allies to appoint him California’s next attorney general, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: If Newsom selects Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee and a confidant of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats would lose a powerful party voice in the U.S. House and temporarily give up a seat in their slim 221-211 majority.

  • Nonetheless, Pelosi has given her approval to Schiff’s bid, a clear sign she thinks she can manage without him. according to people familiar with the matter. Spokespersons for Schiff and Pelosi declined comment.
  • The attorney general's job also would better position Schiff, a high-profile Democrat who led the Russia investigation into then-President Trump, to run for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat, should the 87-year-old decide not to run for reelection in 2024.
  • The AG's job is being vacated by Xavier Becerra, who President Biden has nominated to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services.

The big picture: While Schiff represents California’s Los Angeles-based 28th District, a safe seat for Democrats, it would take roughly six months for a special election to select his successor.

  • Under Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, House vacancies are not filled by appointment — as in the Senate — only by election.

Driving the news: Once Becerra is confirmed, Newsom has the authority to name his replacement as attorney general.

  • It would mark the third high-profile appointment for Newsom, who tapped Secretary of State Alex Padilla to replace Kamala Harris in the Senate, making him the state’s first Hispanic U.S. senator.
  • Newsom then filled Padilla's job with Shirley Weber, making her the state's first Black secretary of state.

The intrigue: Newsom, whose approval rating on the pandemic has plummeted to 31% and who faces a recall effort, has not publicly indicated who he is inclined to pick for the attorney general job, but lobbying campaigns across the state are heating up.

  • Other potential candidates are Rob Bonta, a member of the state Assembly, and Rick Chavez Zbur, director of Equality California, a LGBTQ advocacy group, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • “It’s pretty clear that there are advocates for their favorites," said Bill Carrick, a California political strategist. "But it’s not clear that that will have any influence on the one person who will make the decision: Gov. Gavin Newsom.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Gov. Gavin Newsom's approval rating specifically on the pandemic has plummeted to 31%, and that he is facing a recall effort.

Go deeper

43 mins ago - Health

The floodgates have opened for vaccine mandates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

State governments, private businesses and even part of the federal government are suddenly embracing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for their employees.

Why it matters: Vaccine mandates have been relatively uncommon in the U.S. But with vaccination rates stagnating and the Delta variant driving yet another wave of cases, there's been a new groundswell of support for such requirements.

Ina Fried, author of Login
43 mins ago - Sports

Axios at the Olympics: Softball on the brink

Cat Osterman, pitching here against Japan on Monday, came out of retirement to play in the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: ina Fried

TOKYO – When the U.S. and Japan take the field in Yokohama on Tuesday, they are playing for more than just a gold medal. As badly as both teams want to win, they also want to show the world their sport deserves a permanent place in the Olympics.

Why it matters: Softball is returning to the Olympics after a 12-year absence, but its long-term Olympic future is uncertain, with the sport not part of the 2024 Games in Paris and plans up in the air after that.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic Games tennis tournament

Czech 42nd-ranked Marketa Vondrousova (L) shakes hands with Japan's Naomi Osaka after their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics Games after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Of note: Japan's Osaka is the women's world No. 2, while is Vondrousova ranked No.42.