Gubernatorial Debate: Recalling Gavin Newsom Could Flip the Senate

Gavin Newsom Getty

Elex Michaelson of Fox 11 KTTV asked the participants in Wednesday night’s gubernatorial debate, all Republicans, whether they would appoint a Republican to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 88, if she retired in the near future.

None of the four contenders — businessman John Cox, State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, or former Rep. Doug Ose — said that they would appoint a Republican. Kiley said that he would leave the seat vacant and let the voters decide at the next election, as he asked Newsom to do when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) won the vice presidency. (Newsom appointed then-Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill her seat.)

But the question was one that is intriguing many observers, and worrying may Democrats: if Newsom loses, and is replaced by a Republican, then the replacement for Feinstein in heavily-Democratic California could also be a member of the GOP, meaning control of the Senate, currently tied 50-50 with Harris as tiebreaker, would shift to Republicans.

Polls show momentum growing to recall Newsom, with the latest polls showing voters split or favoring the recall.

There is only one serious Democratic contender to replace Newsom, among a field of 43 candidates from all parties. Real estate investor and YouTuber Kevin Paffrath topped a recent poll, statistically tied with conservative talk show host Larry Elder, who has led most recent polls of potential replacements for Newsom. The incumbent governor will not appear as a Democrat on the ballot, due to a filing error by his campaign that the courts have refused to reverse.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, How to Write: $50,000 of Lessons for $5. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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