With presidential candidate Joe Biden about to announce a running mate, there is a lot at stake in Southern California where the political domino effects could be profound if either U.S. Senator Kamala Harris or MP Karen Bass are selected and ultimately win.
It could happen. Both are on Biden's short list of potential vice presidential candidates – all women who in many cases would leave legislative posts that needed to be filled.
Several leaders from Southern California have emerged as candidates to occupy the U.S. Senate headquarters in Harris or Bass in South LA if they make it to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Shown in San Bernardino in 2019. (AP Photo / Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Scenario 1: The Biden Harris ticket
Let's just say it happened. Biden chooses Harris. You win in November. What now?
According to the law, Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom would select a provisional U.S. senator to fill Harris' term, which expires in early 2023.
Newsom could hold a special election at some point, but it doesn't have to. This has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, a special election shows that the governor is doing the democratic. On the other hand, special elections are expensive and turnout is generally not large – and elections generally face security concerns during the pandemic.
However, his choice of seat would have a great chance of reelection. And that could mean another six years in power.
So, as the lady of the church said, who could it be? The possibilities may sound familiar from the LA area.
Try this: Karen Bass.
"You could see that she was not appointed vice president, but was appointed to the Senate," said Jessica Levinson, director of the Public Service Institute at Loyola Law School.
Levinson referred to Bass' experience in the assembly and a growing position in the national scene as the main reasons why she might be the governor's choice. Not only that, it could also be a “transformative” selection – something Newsom is determined to do.
“There would be a level of comfort. It has a great story. She founded the community coalition. She was one of the Big 5 (in Sacramento) during the Great Recession. I don't know she's a mess, but I think it would be someone Newsom would think of. "
Experts say California's Secretary of State Alex Padilla also has a serious chance.
"I think Padilla could be at the top of the list," said Jack Pitney, who teaches American politics at Claremont McKenna College.
Padilla, a school engineer who grew up in Pacoima and is still at home in the San Fernando Valley, is well prepared for the job, experts said.
After tenures in the LA City Council and in the State Assembly and now as State Secretary, he is close to Newsom. And as a Latino, the 47-year-old represents the fastest growing segment of the California population.
After widespread speculation, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti resigned from a possible 2020 offer for the presidency early last year.
49-year-old Garcetti, who also grew up in the San Fernando Valley, was named one of four co-chairs of the Biden campaign in April – a point that could question him for a cabinet position if Biden did that in November White House wins. His term as mayor ends in 2022, which means that he has opened up opportunities for himself, said Jaime Regalado, emeritus professor of political science at Cal State Los Angeles.
"The fact that he was waiting for the presidency was wise in my opinion," said Regalado.
Don't forget, Rep. Adam Schiff, 60, the longstanding congressman, whose district stretches from Burbank and the San Fernando Valley to Silver Lake and West Hollywood.
Schiff's national profile rose dramatically when the impeachment of President Donald Trump was pursued – an effort that sparked contempt among President Donald Trump's supporters, but an honored profile among the Democrats. In office since 2001, his current term ends in 2021 in a democratic stronghold.
"I think ship has a lot of momentum," said Regalado. "Another question is whether he will bring this into a potential race for the Senate."
Nevertheless, Schiff and Garcetti could climb uphill in any kind of seat offer. Mark Gonzalez, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, suggested that the historic moment is for change. Given the mass protests that call for more fairness for colored people, Newsom and voters could ultimately turn away from appointments to white men in such a powerful seat and in the long term, Gonzalez said.
Garcetti could also be tied up, at least for now, because LA is dealing with a pandemic and a relentless homelessness crisis, Levinson said.
Of course, LA democrats are not the only options here. Northern California politicians have an opportunity to get into these high offices. Newsom, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Harris are all from Northern California, and there is no guarantee that the geographic mix will change, Levinson said.
There is always a long-term chance that Newsom will approach someone like former governor Jerry Brown – at least for a temporary post – in the run-up to a special election.
Why not, said Gonzalez. "He has the name. He is not tied up. He has the national ID and will go to the Senate floor and cause" good problems ".
U.S. Representative Karen Bass delivers the address at the USC opening ceremonies at the USC in Los Angeles on Friday, May 10, 2019. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)
Scenario 2: The Bass Biden ticket
Bass is up for reelection this November for its convention center in South LA.
She has easily won it in the last few cycles.
Its 37th convention center represents South Los Angeles, Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Miracle Mile, Pico-Robertson, Century City, Cheviot Hills, West Los Angeles and Mar Vista. It also includes Culver City and the unincorporated communities of View Park and Ladera Heights.
It's a secure democratic seat, so there is little concern for Democrats here, experts say.
But if Bass makes it to either the White House (or the US Senate), "there will be a whole fight for the bass seat," said Gonzalez.
What will attract candidates is the prospect of a majority in the House of Representatives in November.
The name of the Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was in the mix, but experts – and Ridley-Thomas himself – say he's focused on getting a seat on the LA City Council.
"Never say never," said the former legislator (and LA City Council) this week, referring to the ambitions to return to higher office. “But I prefer the local scene. I find that stimulating and fulfilling, and here in Los Angeles, a good job has to be done. "
Given the local nature, don't be surprised if well-known local names – maybe some at the assembly level – are added.
"Does (State Senator) Holly Mitchell jump in for it? "Said Gonzalez. (Some think Mitchell, who runs against LA City Council member Herb Wesson, might even have a shot at the US Senator.)
Other names that floated included L.A. City Council Marquee tent Harris-Dawson and Assembly Leader Autumn R. Burke.
"It's still a local convention race. It's just about the local name ID," said Gonzalez.
From left: Democratic presidential candidates, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, businessman Tom Steyer, Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg, Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Former Texas MP Beto O & # 39; Rourke, Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., And Former Housing Secretary Julian Castro stands on stage for a photo before a Democratic presidential debate hosted by CNN and the New York Times at Otterbein University on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo / Tony Dejak)
But how realistic is a running mate scenario?
Harris and Bass are both reportedly on Biden's shortlist – and increasing national control doesn't seem to have increased their chances.
Bass has become an even stronger competitor in the past few days as the Democratic National Convention approaches and Biden is preparing for an announcement.
"Harris is the safer choice," said Pitney. “She ran for the president. It was tested on the street. You know how it works in a large constituency. Three national elections…. . The only reason she didn't do well in the race for the president is because she didn't determine her own identity, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for a vice presidential candidate. "
But Bass was aided by the appearance in the national scene after George Floyd's death, leading to efforts to reform criminal justice and accountability for law enforcement agencies in Congress. And experts say that their coalition-building strengths go well with Biden.
"Bass is one of those very humble officials who have been around for a long time and who really have no known enemies," said Regalado. “Until recently, it was far below the national radar. But people started giving her a second or third look. "
It was only last year when Bass stood on a podium with a view of the 2019 USC class – everyone had been sitting closely together before COVID in the past – which looks like eons ago.
"The nation needs you to dream," she said. "You have to dream big. … “Bass – the keynote speaker – said about Trojans.
She rippled from "Fight On".
"They have to keep fighting until our nation – the richest nation in the history of the world – can find a way to ensure health care, close the performance gap and ensure that all of our citizens truly experience justice," said South LA Congress women.
The following month, Senator Harris Biden struck a young presidential campaign in a nationwide television debate because he worked as a legislator with southern segregationists in the 1970s and spoke out against bus measures of the time.
"There was a little girl in California who was part of the second grade to integrate her public schools, and she was taken to school every day by bus," said an outraged Harris, the first black US and California senator one in only 10 African Americans ever hold a seat in the Senate. "And I was that little girl."
For Biden, the "mis-characterizations" were curve balls, which for months asked many questions whether he had what it took to command a deep field of democratic hope. That vulnerability would bother him – until it didn't.
Oh, how have times changed.