On Wednesday, reports came out that Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) is heavily lobbying Governor Gavin Newsom to be appointed the state’s next Attorney General.
In December, then-President-elect Joe Biden chose California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to become the next Department of Health and Human Services Secretary. While Becerra has yet to leave the AG post, he is expected to resign following a an almost-assured Congressional approval. While the Governor is confirmed to have people in mind, Newsom has said that he will not announce his pick until after Becerra is confirmed.
For the last two months, many have lobbied to become the next California AG.
Schiff, a Harvard graduate who was a state Senator for 4 years before becoming a Los Angeles-districted Congressman in 2001, was revealed to have the support of many top Democrats on Wednesday, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has been lobbying for Schiff’s installment in recent weeks. Pelosi, along with other supporters of Schiff, are hoping to give him more of an in-state presence for a possible Senate or Gubernatorial run in the coming years, while also giving Governor Newsom a nationally known figure to help his own stature, especially in light of a growing recall movement against him.
However, many of Governor Newsom’s advisors are pushing towards other candidates despite top California Democrats urging Schiff. Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is seen as the most likely challenger for the spot, with many around Newsom urging him to pick him as the first Filipino AG in state history. As he was a former city attorney of San Francisco, the local connection to Newsom may make him more favored for the spot.
Washington-backed Schiff, Sacramento-backed Bonta
“Schiff ran the Russia investigation against Trump awhile back and was Chairman of the committee over his impeachment,” explained Washington-based political researcher Matt Thomas. “To Democrats, he’s the guy to go to for important matters, and having him as the Attorney General in California would make him be instantly credible to over half the state. The problem is is that he hasn’t really spent that much time in California since being elected in two decades ago, so becoming Attorney General would help entrench him back in the state, probably long enough to get Senator Feinstein’s seat or maybe take over after Newsom.”
“I don’t know too much about Bonta, but considering he’s from Newsom’s neck of the woods, is a minority, and has a good background, he may get it from him.”
“We also have to entertain the idea that Newsom may just pick a third person no one is really looking into, which is kind of his style. He doesn’t have the best reputation right now though, with the national party distancing themselves a little from him now due to that impeachment movement and his declining popularity. But adding Schiff to the mix would frustrate Republicans there and would reenergize Newsom a bit. But until Becerra is in, we won’t really know. Pelosi doesn’t want to lose another Democrat seat in the narrow House majority, but in this case, it would be done to protect a Governor seat. Pelosi is playing the odds in backing him.”
Governor Newsom is due to make his Attorney General selection sometime this month after the confirmation of Xavier Becerra.
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