On Tuesday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg was removed from Governor Gavin Newsom’s list of Attorney General candidates, with Politico reporting that Newsom himself told the Mayor.
For the last two months, Steinberg had been frequently mentioned as a top candidate along with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland).
The Attorney General position, recently vacated by Xavier Becerra to become the new U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, has been the source of much speculation, as many racial and special interest groups have lobbying the Governor for their own candidates. The most vocal in recent weeks have been Asian Americans, who have cited the rising number of attacks on Asians in Californian cities as the main reason to have an Attorney General who understands the trauma and hurt Asian American communities are going through.
“California’s next attorney general will need to be a leader for API (Asian-Pacific Islander) Americans everywhere,” said Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) las week. “We have to continue to build bridges of trust between our API communities and law enforcement.”
However, others have noted that California needs a more of a direct link to Washington to properly convey California’s new laws and judicial choices and help influence the direction of the country. Xavier Becerra, the previous state Attorney General, was successful in doing this by moving from Congressman to AG and influencing policy by suing the Trump Administration over 120 times in four years and protecting Californian positions, such as the nearly two year war Becerra and California waged against the Trump Administration over car emissions standards.
Many in Washington and Sacramento say Congressman Schiff is seen as the best person to follow in Becerra’s footsteps in that regard, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even backing him recently for the job.
With other candidates, such as California Supreme Court Associate Justice Gordon Liu also having been elevated as Asian-American candidates, Steinberg, an older, white male, had been increasingly been, seen as the odd man out among the top candidates despite being a close ally of Newsom’s. With no real backing among ethnic organizations, Washington lawmakers, or special interest groups, the Sacramento Mayor was gently informed by Governor Newsom on Tuesday that he would not be the next Attorney General.
With Steinberg out, Assemblyman Bonta and Congressman Schiff are now the two favorite remaining contenders for the Attorney General slot.
Governor Newsom is expected to make his AG pick in the coming weeks.
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