What Happens To Kamala Harris' Senate Seat After The Election? There's A Process

Ever since Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden named Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) as his running mate, Harris has been taking on both her congressional responsibilities and campaigning duties. But if a Biden-Harris ticket comes out on top, that’s not how it will work after Nov. 3. With Election Day just around the corner, you might be wondering, what will happen to Kamala Harris' Senate seat after the election? It's a big decision — and it's up to one person.

If President Donald Trump is reelected, Harris will continue in her role as a senator for the two years left of her term. However, if there's a Biden-Harris victory in November, one man — California Gov. Gavin Newsom — will have the responsibility of filling her vacant seat in January 2021. This is because California is one of 37 states where, in the event of a vacant Senate seat, the governor can appoint an interim senator to serve the remainder of the term. According to current California law, Newsom's appointee will serve out the remaining two years of Harris' term and be eligible for reelection during the next statewide general election in November 2022, per The Intercept.

Because what happens next is completely dependent on the results of the presidential election, efforts to start lobbying for potential candidates have flown under the public's radar. However, in an Aug. 12 press conference, Gov. Newsom shared he'd already been presented with his fair share of contenders.

"You may be the only one who hasn’t, unless you just did," he quipped when a reporter asked who'd submitted their names in the running for the vacant seat.

San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images/Hearst Newspapers/Getty Images

While the choice is ultimately up to Newsom, it's likely he'll be looking for a diverse candidate to reflect California's demographics while filling the vice presidential candidate's very qualified shoes. Before making history as Biden's running mate, Sen. Harris became the second Black woman to serve in the Senate. While numerous names have been tossed in the ring, it wouldn't be surprising if Newsom selects a candidate of color. There's speculation he could appoint the state's first Latino senator to reflect the approximately 40% of Latinos that make up California's population.

According to multiple news outlets, there are some prominent names being considered to fill a possible vacancy, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff. Other contenders include former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and Democratic Reps. Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Nanette Diaz Barragan.

Of course, voters will have to wait for the results of the election to find out if Harris’ seat will need to be filled, but judging from Gov. Newsom's response, he has plenty of qualified options to consider.