California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will Fill Kamala Harris’s Senate Seat

In replacing the Vice President-elect, Padilla becomes the first Latino to represent California in the Senate

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has been selected by Governor Gavin Newsom to fill the U.S. Senate seat opened up by Kamala Harris. Padilla, long rumored as a favorite for the position, will make history as the first Latino to represent the state in that body.

A child of immigrants who came from Mexico to the San Fernando Valley, Padilla attended MIT and began his career as a software engineer. He was first elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1999. Just 26 years old at the time, he would soon be the youngest president of the council in city history, as well as the first Latino to hold that job.

Next he moved on to the legislature, serving in the California state senate from 2006 until being elected Secretary of State in 2014. He was overwhelmingly reelected to that position in 2018.

“Alex Padilla, with his personality and his work ethic, is going to be able to unite our state and show us in two short years that he’s ready, willing and able to unify all communities across the state,” L.A. Congressman Tony Cárdenas told  the Los Angeles Times. “And then continue to have a very successful career in the United States Senate.”

Padilla will be able to run for reelection in 2022, and will have the benefit of incumbency, but at least two high-profile Democrats might already be eyeing a primary fight when the time comes. Representatives Adam Schiff and Katie Porter are both believed to be considering Senate runs.

RELATED: What’s Really in the Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill?

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.