4 ways Karen Bass’ mayoral run will impact Washington



Rep. Karen Bass’ (D-Los Angeles) formal announcement Monday that she’s working for mayor shook up the race to steer California’s largest metropolis.

However it’ll even have penalties again in Washington, the place Bass has represented her Los Angeles district since 2011.

Listed here are 4 methods her entrance into the mayor’s race might influence the nation’s capital:

1. Possibilities dim that the subsequent Home Democratic chief will probably be a Black lady

Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) agreed in late 2018 to step down from her management submit by the top of subsequent yr, which means the caucus may usher in a brand new batch of Democratic leaders to succeed Pelosi, Majority Chief Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) after subsequent yr’s midterm elections.

Bass, who was on President Biden’s shortlist of working mates within the 2020 election and later emerged as a contender for Gov. Gavin Newsom to nominate to the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Kamala Harris, was usually talked about by her colleagues as one of many members who may fill the management void, even perhaps as speaker.

“Within the subsequent election — possibly two — there’s going to be turnover on the highest ranges within the U.S. Home of Representatives, and there are a variety of good individuals who individuals are already pondering are in competition to rise to speaker or majority chief or whip,” Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) mentioned in an interview. “Given her expertise, I believe that she had an actual alternative to fill any one in every of quite a few prime management positions within the Home.”

With solely about two dozen Black girls serving within the Home, a 435-member physique, Bass’ determination means the chance of a Black lady main Home Democrats “might occur later quite than sooner,” mentioned Aimee Allison, founder and president of She The Individuals, a nationwide community of ladies of coloration.

2. Democrats may have a narrower majority within the 2022 lame duck

Bass can proceed to signify her district in Congress whereas additionally working for mayor. Many representatives and senators have held their congressional seats whereas working for president or different places of work.


But when Bass is elected mayor in November 2022 and sworn in earlier than the 118th Congress convenes in January 2023, Democrats might have to regulate to having one much less vote throughout a portion of the few weeks between election day and a brand new Congress, which is named the lame-duck interval. That may be a busy time, significantly if a chamber is altering fingers from one social gathering to a different.

Democrats are already struggling to enact the president’s agenda with solely a three-vote margin within the Home, and an evenly divided Senate. So each vote counts.

“That’s the query: How will that mess issues up?” mentioned Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside). “If we want her as a voting member within the lame-duck session, that may be an issue the final three weeks of December.”

Home vacancies in California are stuffed by particular elections, so there wouldn’t be sufficient time to quickly fill the seat. Bass’ substitute, presumably elected in November 2022, would take the seat in early January.

3. Her seat is up for grabs, however …

Bass’ determination to run for mayor indicators to potential candidates that her seat is up for grabs. One downside, nevertheless, is that nobody fairly is aware of what that seat will appear like subsequent yr.

California is ready to lose one in every of its 53 congressional seats, and the California Residents Redistricting Fee must draw new strains for congressional districts based mostly on new census inhabitants totals.

The fee is in its third and closing part, which includes holding conferences and drafting maps, with certification of a closing map more likely to come earlier than the top of the yr.

The submitting deadline for congressional candidates is in March.

4. Rep. Barbara Lee will get a lift

Bass and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) had each acknowledged their curiosity in succeeding Harris within the Senate earlier than the appointment went to Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).

However with no Black lady serving within the chamber since Harris grew to become VP, Newsom has mentioned he’ll identify a Black lady if Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) resigns earlier than her time period is up in 2024.

At 88, Feinstein is the oldest member of the chamber. She stepped down from her submit as the highest Democrat on the Judiciary Committee earlier this yr.

She has given no indications that she gained’t full her time period and hasn’t mentioned whether or not she’ll search reelection in 2024. Nevertheless, fellow octogenarian Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), 88, introduced final week that he’s working for reelection to a different six-year time period.

If Bass turns into mayor, Lee possible strikes up on Newsom’s shortlist.

“I haven’t made it a secret that I believe it’s time for some new management on the Senate degree and that I believe Barbara Lee may be very effectively positioned,” Allison mentioned. “Girls of coloration, and significantly Black girls, confirmed up massive time for [Newsom] in defeating the recall, and that is our expectation: We anticipate the governor to make good on what he mentioned about his dedication to Black girls’s management.”


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