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Alex Padilla. Photo: Carolyn Cole/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to succeed Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate.

Why it matters: Padilla — a child of Mexican immigrants — will be the first Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate. He is a close confidant of Newsom's and will serve in the Senate for the remainder of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.

The big picture: Padilla was considered a front-runner for the appointment, but Newsom faced competing political interests while making his decision.

  • Some groups lobbied for Newsom to appoint a Black woman in honor of the diversity Harris brought to the Senate. Once Harris is sworn in as vice president, there will be no Black women in the upper chamber.
  • Other groups insisted that a Hispanic appointment was most fitting, as California is almost 40% Latino and has never had a Latino senator.
  • "It’s a hell of a decision, U.S. Senate, because you’re guaranteed to upset more people than you please," Newsom said recently, per the Wall Street Journal.

Background: As California's secretary of state, Padilla sought to expand voting access and ensure an accurate census count. He also served two terms in the state Senate, where he authored legislation in favor of climate change reform, closing the digital divide and universal health care.

What to watch: Padilla will have little time in office before campaigning begins for the 2022 race, which could attract top names in the Democratic Party like California Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter. It's not yet clear if Padilla plans to run for a full six-year term.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Rob Portman will not run for re-election, citing "partisan gridlock"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced Monday he will not run for a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2022, citing "partisan gridlock."

Why it matters: It's a surprise retirement from a prominent Senate Republican who easily won re-election in 2016 and was expected to do so again in 2022, creating an open Senate seat in a red-leaning swing state.

FAA clears more planes after 5G fears

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it had approved nearly 80% of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports with new 5G services after fears of signal interference limited 5G rollout.

Why it matters: The FAA approvals will help provide more certainty after the agency raised fears that 5G signals could reduce the accuracy of certain equipment, known as radio altimeters, that helps planes land and take off in inclement weather.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton stock tanks on report of production halt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Peloton stock fell by as much as 25% on Thursday, following a CNBC report that the connected fitness company will temporarily halt production on its bikes and treadmills.

Why it matters: Peloton is viewed by many as a proxy for consumer behavior in the pandemic era, as its popularity surged when gyms closed and people wanted to exercise at home.