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All Eyes On California As Newsom Prepares To Fill Senate Seat, Biden Chooses Cabinet

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As the president-elect and vice president-elect transition into their new roles, California's political landscape is a flurry of activity.

"It's a bit of a jigsaw puzzle," Marcia Godwin, a professor at the University of La Verne, said.

Many of the state's heavy-hitters and rising stars are being talked about for cabinet positions or to complete Sen. Kamala Harris' term.

Some of the names that have been tossed out for larger roles are Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

"Now, not all of them are gonna join a Biden administration, by any means," Godwin said. "But a few here and there, and then all of the sudden the floodgates are open for positions that might be another gubernatorial appointment or, you know, special election for mayor of L.A. or congressional seat — so possibilities become almost endless."

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Gov. Gavin Newsom will make one of those decisions, one that will change the state's political lineup.

Some analysts say if Republicans hold the U.S. Senate, Newsom might satisfy progressives by choose Becerra for Harris' seat since he would not likely get Senate approval for a cabinet spot, and could provide representation for a key voter block in the state.

"Given the fact that we haven't had any Latino representation in the U.S. Senate, I mean that's a huge, I think, liability politically, but it's also just kind of an injustice," Jason Whitehead, a professor at Cal State Long Beach, said.

Loyola Law professor Jessica Levinson believes the senate seat is Padilla's to lose, but regardless of Newsom's decision, she said the state's influence was growing.

"California has been at the forefront of being the Trump resistance and now we can flip that and we can see California maybe at the forefront of being a core part of an administration — not fighting the administration, but being part of the administration," she said.

Reports suggest that the president-elect could announce some of his cabinet in the coming days, though it is unclear when Newsom might make his choice for the senate seat.

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