San Francisco mayor says Newsom's California Senate pick 'a real blow to the African-American community'

Newsom on Tuesday tapped Calif. Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who would become the first Latino to hold a U.S. Senate seat from the state. 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pick to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is "a real blow to the African-American community."

Newsom on Tuesday tapped Calif. Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who would become the first Latino to hold a U.S. Senate seat from the state. 

"Definitely, this is a real blow to the African-American community," Breed said of the choice during a news conference to offer Covid-19 updates. 

"It's an unfortunate situation as we are trying to move this country forward and making sure that Black lives truly matter and that African-Americans have a seat at the table, especially African-American women, after what was done in this race on a national level, definitely is unfortunate."

Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, was the only Black woman in the Senate. 


"The son of Mexican immigrants — a cook and house cleaner — Alex Padilla worked his way from humble beginnings to the halls of MIT, the Los Angeles City Council and the State Senate, and has become a national defender of voting rights as California’s Secretary of State," Newsom said of Padilla in a statement on Tuesday. 

Newsom defied a chorus of liberal voices that included Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. 

"I will tell you that I do believe that there should be an African American woman in the Congress," Bass told FOX 11 of Los Angeles earlier in December, referring only to the Senate. "When Sen. Harris is sworn in as the vice president, there will be one African American Democrat, one African American Republican, no African American women."

Those who wanted to see a Black woman in the Senate were pushing the governor to appoint Bass or Rep. Barbara Lee. 

Still, the congresswoman offered her congratulations to Padilla on Tuesday.

"I’ve known Alex dating back to when he served our city as the youngest-ever President of the Los Angeles City Council. We served together in the State legislature where he passed landmark legislation to make California the first state in the nation to require chain restaurants to post calorie information directly on menus. More recently as our Secretary of State, Alex modernized our electoral process and led the effort to provide ballots by mail statewide so Californians could safely vote in this year’s election," she said in a statement. 


"Today, our state gains yet another champion following a distinguished line of individuals who have shattered glass ceilings and hurdled obstacles in their way. After then-Senator Harris’s historic election in 2016 as the first woman of color to represent California, we now have another historic barrier shattered as Alex will be the first Latino to serve California in the United States Senate."

Lee praised Padilla as a "skilled legislator and a steadfast advocate for justice."

"I believe he will be a powerful voice in the Senate for those who continue to be denied our country's promise of equality," she said. 

Meanwhile, GOP members of the House Oversight Committee demanded Padilla be "held accountable" for a $35 million contract his office awarded from the CARES Act to a firm linked to the Biden campaign, claiming it was a "misuse of taxpayer money and a violation of the law."

Padilla’s office, according to House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., Administration Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., allegedly used Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant money from the coronavirus stimulus package to fund a voter contract with SKD Knickerbocker— a public affairs and political consulting firm the Republican lawmakers described as "Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firm."


"Alex Padilla’s actions as California Secretary of State raise serious ethical and legal questions and we must have answers immediately before he is entrusted with representing all citizens of California in the U.S. Senate and safeguarding taxpayer dollars," said Comer in a statement Tuesday.