Senator Barbara boxer’s decision not to seek reelection opened the doors for a debate and a race to see who should replace her. Or at least that’s the way it should be.
However, there are numerous efforts by Democrats to ensure that this election is as uncontested as possible and that the envoy to Washington be State Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Harris is a competent government official, drawn by the natural ambition to hold a post as important as that of federal senator. What she doesn’t need is a chorus of voices seeking to create an air of inevitability about her nomination.
Specifically, the backing of Harris by former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, practically demanding the support of ex Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, one of Harris’s potential rivals to replace Boxer.
Brown’s paternalistic tone is inappropriate, and his intention to appoint Boxer’s successor constitutes a lack of respect for California residents, Latinos and voters in the state’s south.
Currently, in addition to Villaraigosa, there is talk of Representative Loretta Sanchez, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Representative Xavier Becerra as possibly interested in a Senate run. All of them have strong contributions to make and do not deserve the political scorn of people who live in the past, like Brown.
California’s demographics have changed with the growth of the Latino vote. A Hispanic candidate for Senate would inject enthusiasm into California’s apathetic voter base. A Latino from California in the upper chamber would provide a significant and different perspective.
As a political tactic, it is acceptable for Harris to take the lead in endorsements and funding. Fear of Democratic candidates dividing the vote in an open primary in favor of Republicans is understandable.
Anything is possible. What is unacceptable is for a handful of Democrats from the north of the state to decide among them who the candidate will be. Political machines with their hand-picked candidates are part of the past, like Willie Brown.
Voters should make their choice from among the candidates; they do not need a preselection made behind closed doors. They deserve more respect