Gov. Newsom Floated Oprah Winfrey As Feinstein Replacement: AP

    • CA Gov. Gavin Newsom is reportedly assessing who to appoint should Sen. Dianne Feinstein step down.
    • One of the names Newsom is considering is media mogul Oprah Winfrey, per The Associated Press.
    • Appointing a celebrity could help Newsom avoid picking favorites among actual politicians.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has floated appointing media mogul Oprah Winfrey if Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat becomes vacant amid deepening health concerns.

According to the Associated Press, Winfrey is among the names that Newsom is considering appointing should Feinstein willingly leave her seat. 

The 89-year-old California Senator returned to Washington on May 10, after a shingles diagnosis and treatment that kept her out of action for 10 weeks. 

And while the thought of slotting in a celebrity with no political experience into the high-profile seat may seem random, there may be some planning behind it. In 2021, Newsom promised to appoint a Black woman to Feinstein’s post if her seat became vacant. The AP posited that the appointment could be more of a caretaker role until votes can decide on Feinstein’s replacement in 2024.

Placing a celebrity in the seat could also help Newsom avoid picking favorites among actual declared senate candidates, AP added. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee is currently running against Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff. Lee is Black, and Porter and Schiff are white.

As it stands, Newsom may not even have a chance to make the appointment. Feinstein has said that she is not planning to step down from her position before her term ends in 2025. Feinstein’s office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Winfrey did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

In 2018, Oprah’s friends pushed her to make a 2020 run for president, according to CNN, but she has publicly denied having presidential ambitions.

According to the AP, Newsom has considered Winfrey as a candidate if Feinstein’s health or her decision to see out her term changes. 

Recent reports have raised the concern that Feinstein may not have been aware that she was gone from the Senate for close to three months. Insider’s “Red, White, and Gray” project highlighted that Congress is older than it has ever been, with Feinstein the oldest sitting member of Congress.

Newsom’s office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment. 

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