Dem Rep Suggests It's Racist for Dem Governor To Tap Somebody Else for California Senate Seat Before Election

Rep. Barbara Lee (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
September 11, 2023

A black Democratic congresswoman from California is suggesting that appointing a different black woman to fill a potential Senate vacancy is racist.

Rep. Barbara Lee slammed California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D.) for excluding her from consideration to replace ailing Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.), should Feinstein resign. Newsom, who has committed to appointing a black woman to replace Feinstein, ruled out Lee because she's already running for the seat.

"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 said. "If the Governor intends to keep his promise and appoint a Black woman to the Senate, the people of California deserve the best possible person for that job. Not a token appointment."

Lee is a vocal proponent of affirmative action and supported the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. President Joe Biden chose Jackson after promising to nominate a black woman.

Lee is not the favorite to win the Senate primary in March, trailing fellow Democratic representatives Adam Schiff and Katie Porter by double digits, according to a recent Berkeley poll. If Newsom appointed Lee to fill Feinstein's seat, she might benefit from incumbency advantage.