Black Lives Matter launched a petition Monday calling on California Gov. Gavin Newsom to appoint a Black woman to fill the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Kamala Harris once she officially resigns to become vice president.
“Appointing a Black woman to this seat is nonnegotiable — this must be done,” Black Lives Matter Global Network wrote, directing the Democratic governor to either appoint U.S. Reps. Karen Bass or Barbara Lee to fill the seat for the remainder of Harris’ term.
“If there is not a single Black woman in the Senate, then the Senate is simply not a proper representation of the people,” the petition states, pointing out that there will be no Black female U.S. senators once Harris takes the leap from Congress to the executive branch.
The group then implied it was now Newsom’s time to deliver by appointing a candidate of their choice, arguing the Democratic Party has become “reliant on Black voters, particularly Black women,” and there would have been a “very different electoral outcome” if it weren’t for Black voters and organizers across the country.
“This is not a one-way street. We showed up, and now, it’s his turn to do the same,” the petition states. “If Governor Newsom is serious about his role in the Democratic Party, he will deliver to his base and answer our call to appoint a Black woman to the Senate.”
According to BLM, the California Legislative Black Caucus already reached out to Newsom about Bass and Lee, but he “has yet to meet with them or comment on what his plans are in terms of the seat.”
Speculation has been swirling for months over whom Newsom will select to replace Harris after President-elect Joe Biden tapped her as his running mate in mid-August.
Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Karen Bass, both longtime members of Congress, have been tapped by Black Lives Matter and the California Legislative Black Caucus to fill the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Kamala Harris once she officially resigns to become vice president.
“No timeline has been established. The process is just beginning to unfold,” Newsom said during a Monday press conference. “We are working through the cattle call of considerations related to what’s the profile, the right choice to replace Sen. Harris.”
Bass has served as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus since 2018 and co-authored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 earlier this year. According to the petition, Lee also has “been a constant advocate for Black people and women” during her time in the state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
"All in all, these Black women are overwhelmingly qualified, and most importantly, they’re dedicated in the fight for Black liberation," BLM wrote. “Their leadership and ability to form coalitions and act on pressing issues is proven in their records — without this type of leadership in the Senate from Black women, how are Black people supposed to feel counted and represented?”
Two leading contenders to replace Harris are reportedly Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, both Democrats. Justice Democrats, a far-left PAC aligned with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is pushing for Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., to get the seat that will be vacated by the vice president-elect.
Other potential candidates include almost every one of California's executive officials, including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Controller Betty Yee and Treasurer Fiona Ma, The Hill reported, citing sources close to Newsom.
Fox News' Evie Fordham and Peter Hasson, as well as FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report.