Newsom picks California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill Harris' Senate seat

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla for the Senate seat that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will vacate.

"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 in a statement on Tuesday. "Now, he will serve in the halls of our nation’s Capitol as California’s next United States Senator, the first Latino to hold this office."

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla with Newsom in Long Beach, February 28, 2020. (Photo by Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

Padilla served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1999 to 2006 and as a California state senator from 2006 to 2014, according to Ballotpedia.

He has served as California secretary of state since 2015.

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"I am honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by Governor Newsom, and I intend to work each and every day to honor that trust and deliver for all Californians," Padilla said in a statement.

Newsom's choice comes after Republicans on the House Oversight and House Administration Committees demanded answers from Padilla about a "highly questionable" $35 million contract his office awarded to a firm linked to the Biden campaign, claiming it was a "misuse of taxpayer money and a violation of the law."

Newsom's decision also comes after some had called on him to replace Harris with another Black woman.

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"I will tell you that I do believe that there should be an African American woman in the Congress," Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., told FOX 11 earlier in December. "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."

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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