California governor taps election chief Alex Padilla to fill Kamala Harris Senate seat

National News

FILE – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla talks during a news conference Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s is considering whom to appoint to serve out the rest of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ Senate term through 2022. Under consideration for the job include Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Tuesday as the state’s next U.S. senator to fill the seat being vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The child of Mexican immigrants, Padilla will be California’s first Latino senator, giving a new level of representation to the demographic group that makes up nearly 40% of the state’s population.

“Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in D.C., lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement.

Padilla was widely expected to be Newsom’s pick, as the two are longtime political allies. Newsom faced competing pressures to appoint a Latino to the seat and to appoint a Black woman, as Harris was the only Black woman in the chamber.

“I am honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by Governor Newsom, and I intend to work each and every day to honor that trust and deliver for all Californians,” Padilla said in a statement.

Padilla, 47, has been California’s top elections official since 2015. In that position, he’s overseen California’s vast elections apparatus, including the rollout of a more robust vote-by-mail system. In the November election, California mailed a ballot to every single registered voter. Prior to that, he oversaw the implementation of the Voter’s Choice Act, a 2016 law that allowed counties to mail all registered voters a ballot.

He’ll hold the Senate seat through 2022, when he will have to run for reelection. Harris hasn’t given a date for her resignation, but she will be inaugurated as vice president on Jan. 20.

He lives in Los Angeles.

Harris was elected to the seat in 2016. She served on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Judiciary and the Committee on the Budget. Harris was the first South Asian-American and second Black woman to serve in the Senate.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Live Doppler 9 Map Center

CNY View

CNY View

CNY View

Oswego Area

Oswego Area

Syracuse Area

Syracuse Area