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California Exits Give Newsom Rare Chance to Pick 3 High-Profile Leaders



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OAKLAND, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has a perfect storm of political opportunity now that Xavier Becerra’s departure gives him the chance to fill a third high-profile statewide office and shape the state’s power structure for years.

Ambitious Democrats and their constituencies were already lobbying the governor for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ Senate seat, and now Newsom will also select the next state attorney general to replace Becerra.

If Newsom chooses odds-on favorite Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill Harris’ seat, the governor would have the exceptionally rare power to name three people to coveted statewide posts within weeks, potentially cementing a decade of governance in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.

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