LA Times Columnist Floats Replacing Feinstein with Kamala Harris, Finding Better Running Mate for Biden

(INSET: Joe Biden) WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12: Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, (D-IL) (C),
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Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton floated a scenario that he thinks could cure Democrat woes across multiple elected offices: If Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) retires midterm and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) appoints Vice President Kamala Harris to her seat, then President Joe Biden can find a more appealing running mate for 2024.  

The idea, which Skelton endorsed in his article Thursday but admitted is farfetched, came from an L.A. Times reader, who sent the idea to the columnist. If the unlikely hypothetical scenario ever were to unfold, it would send shockwaves through California and national politics. 

For starters, replacing Feinstein with Harris would be a positive for Democrats on multiple fronts, noted Skelter. The 90-year-old Feinstein, whose daughter reportedly has power of attorney over her legal affairs, has appeared confused at times following her return from a health-related absence in March, in which she missed more than 90 votes. This came after the New York Times reported last summer that Democrats were struggling to keep her declining mental health under wraps.

WATCH: WOW! Dianne Feinstein Told “Just Say Aye” When She Starts Rambling During Senate Vote

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It would also help Biden in repurposing his unpopular vice president, who has been no stranger to criticism for awkward gaffes and statements. For reference, her average approval rating on FiveThirtyEight pings at 39.5 percent, while a majority of 51.7 percent disapprove of her performance. In other words, she is 12 points underwater. From there, he could pick a Democrat seen as a better asset for a running mate. 

If Harris were to take over Feinstein’s term, which ends in 2025, and then run for reelection, it could set up a four-way race between her and Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Katie Porter (D-CA), all of whom have declared their candidacies. It would be a high-stakes contest where three of the prominent Democrats would be out of public office for at least a full election cycle. 

However, Feinstein has given no indication that she is keen on leaving her post before her term is finished. Her office only announced she would not seek reelection after Porter pressured her by launching a Senate campaign. Biden would serve as a central player in such a major shake-up, per Skelter, but persuading Feinstein would be difficult. 

“Biden would need to invite her into the Oval Office for a heart-to-heart. She has been a terrific senator with lots to be proud of, but it’s time to let go — for the country’s sake, the state’s and her own — he’d urge, speaking as a longtime senator himself and a former colleague,” Skelter wrote. 

Skelter noted that coaxing Harris out of the vice president role would be an even taller task as she “would need to be pushed — dumped.”


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