Newsom is being encouraged to replace Feinstein with an indigenous woman

Senator Diane Feinstein‘s elitist attitudes towards indigenous communities in California has many Tribes hoping that Governor Gavin Newsom will appoint an indigenous woman to succeed her — should her seat become vacant before her term is scheduled to end in 2024.  For weeks, political operatives have rumored aloud that Feinstein is likely to retire in the early months of 2023 and Democrats have been vying behind the scenes to succeed her by gubernatorial appointment.

It is widely believed that Newsom has ambitions on the presidency, and any appointment to fill such a high profile vacancy in the United States Senate will impact his political brand going into the 2024 Democratic Party primary process.  Conscious of his appeal to primary voters, who lean to the left of the party, Feinstein’s successor will likely be chosen with that in mind.

Many believe that Newsom is certain to nominate a woman — in light of Feinstein’s groundbreaking stature in the Senate, and his previous appointment of a man to fill the Senate vacancy left by Kamala Harris‘ election as Vice President.  They argue that Newsom is most likely to nominate a diverse woman from a marginalized group or under-represented population who brings an identity-politics advantage to a looming primary campaign.

California voters — the most diverse state in the nation — like to elect ‘firsts’.  When she was elected to represent California in the United States Senate, Kamala Harris was the first Indian American woman elected to that body, and only the second African American woman elected to it.

Since Newsom has already appointed a Latino to the Senate, operatives postulate that he is most likely to appoint an Asian American, African American, or Native American woman to succeed Feinstein in the event of her resignation.  That possibility has Tribes organizing around the objective of “seating the first indigenous woman in the United States Senate” — and California Tribes have been throwing money at Newsom to make it happen.

“An indigenous Senator from California would be an extraordinary accomplishment of the progressive justice movement,” explains emeritus lecturer Alan Leventhal, of San Jose State University. “Appointing a Native American woman would be even more extraordinary, given that indigenous women face the highest rates of murder and violence in North America.”

Feinstein’s staffers have told Tribal leaders that they “will never recognize an urban Tribe” despite the fact that she has lived on stolen Muwekma land her entire life.  She has refused to support federal recognition efforts for wrongly unrecognized Tribes on the basis that they might build casinos — which critics have called shockingly racist. 

In recent years, the upper echelons of the Democratic Party have begun to realize the influence of indigenous voters in red states — as evidenced by the ‘Blue-ing’ of Arizona and the recent election of Mary Peltola in Alaska.  In a Democratic Party Presidential Primary process, indigenous voters could be a determinative swing constituency in States like Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Political operatives believe that Newsom could defy his image as a coastal elite by appealing strongly to indigenous communities in far-flung corners of the country — and what better way to do so than by appointing the first indigenous woman to ever be seated in the United States Senate, they postulate.

And if he does decide to choose such an unconventional outside-the-box candidate, California has no shortage of strong, capable, and experienced tribal leaders — many of whom are more familiar with the workings of Congress (and the dastardly consequences of its racist policies) than the congresspersons themselves.

Charlene Nijmeh, the Tribal Chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, is one of the most extraordinary community organizers that anyone will ever meet,” Leventhal explains. “She would be an extraordinary Senator and would elevate the dignity of the office and represent the interests of all California residents.”

Rep. Barbara Lee is widely expected to seek the US Senate vacancy that is widely expected to result in the looming retirement of Senator Diane Feinstein.


Newsom has offered an apology for California’s genocide against Indians and he has started to budget state money to begin buying land for landless Tribes that suffer from epidemic rates of homelessness.

Because Padilla is from Southern California, most in Sacramento believe that Newsom will look to appoint someone from the San Francisco Bay Area.

“If the primary is a competitive one, then all of these smaller states in the mid-section of the country suddenly become critically important for Newsom,” a longtime Democratic Party operative explains.  “And if an African American candidate decides to run, and South Carolina is at the top of the primary calendar, he can be sure that it will be competitive.”

In a competitive general election contest, Arizona — where the indigenous vote has determinatively swung the State to the Democrats for the last two federal election cycles — is likely to again be at the crux of the presidential election in 2024.  Newsom is widely believed to be considering Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, of New Mexico, as his Vice Presidential running mate, precisely because of her appeal in the Southwest.

Rep. Ro Khanna had been considering a run for United States Senate, but he was recently caught on an audio recording mansplaining colonialism to the Chairwoman of struggling Tribe in Northern California.  Political operatives believe that the recording will be an electoral problem for Khanna. 


Rep. Eric Swalwell was caught on an audio recording helping Rep. Anna Eshoo and Rep. Zoe Lofgren extort the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of a vast swath of its sovereignty.


If Newsom were to select Interior Secretary Deb Haaland as his Vice Presidential running mate, it’s widely believed that he would have an electoral lock on Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, and Oklahoma in the general election.


  1. very interesting article. I do hope he chooses an Indigenous Woman, for a myriad of reasons. a few of those reasons being they are the least represented, least recognized, most victimized. yet, they are some of the most resilient and influential individuals. to choice a woman from the First Nations to fill Feinstein’s spot would not only be fitting but extraordinary.

  2. “If Newsom were to select Interior Secretary Deb Haaland as his Vice Presidential running mate, it’s widely believed that he would have an electoral lock on Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, and Oklahoma in the general election.“ Hahahahahahahaha thanks for the laugh

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