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Dianne Feinstein wants Alex Padilla to replace Kamala Harris in Senate

Padilla, California's secretary of state, would be the first Latino to represent the state in the Senate.
Image: Alex Padilla
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla at a news conference in Los Angeles on Sept. 24.Kirby Lee / AP file

WASHINGTON — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is throwing her support to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill Kamala Harris' Senate seat when she is sworn in as vice president.

"I know him. And my sense is that he's going to represent California very well. And he's someone I'd be very happy to work with and also bring Hispanic representation to the Senate for the first time," Feinstein said on Capitol Hill.

Padilla, 47, would make history as the first Latino to represent California in the Senate.

Feinstein told NBC News that she has conveyed her preference to Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has the authority to make the temporary appointment to the coveted seat from the country's largest state.

"He's aware of it," she said. "I haven't talked with him. We've communicated. Let's put it that way."

Feinstein, the state's senior senator, has served in the chamber since 1993 and is the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, a role that she recently said she will step down from next month.

She won re-election to a six-year term in 2018 and has, at times, found herself at odds with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.