When it became apparent that the Biden-Harris ticket would win the election, like many others I immediately thought that the replacement for Senator Harris might be Representative Barbara Lee. Now, I’m not so sure.
Senator Harris’ seat will be up in 2022, so her replacement will only get 2 years of service before having to defend the seat if she tries for reelection.
Although Barbara Lee has to defend her seat every two years, she is enormously popular in her district and so far has withstood GOP challenges easily.The GOP has tried very hard to replace her, and in a state-wide senatorial election I think their efforts and funding would be massive, and she may not be beloved in other parts of the state.
Ms. Lee’s long tenure has gotten her to be senior member of the powerful (and very important) Appropriations Committee. She is Vice Chair of the subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs and serves on the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and the subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. All this seniority would be lost if she moves to the Senate.
There is obviously a great short term gain by appointing her to the senate, but I cannot evaluate the long term prospects or dynamics. Barbara Lee has been in Washington long enough that she would best be able to think through the long term’s gain (or loss). Hopefully, she will be asked.