Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, who was recently elected for a third consecutive term from the congressional district representing Silicon Valley, is being considered as a potential contender to fill the US Senate seat from California that will fall vacant in January after Kamala Harris is sworn in as the country's vice president.
Daughter of an Indian-American mother and African-American father, Kamala Harris, 56, was elected a US Senator from California in 2016. The seat will become vacant after she is sworn in as the vice president in January.
Under California law, the vacancy would be filled up by Governor Gavin Newsom for the remaining two-year term of the Senate seat. State media is reporting various names, including that of Ro Khanna, 44, that are being considered by Newsom to fill up the vacancy.
Among the potential contenders are California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, whose election to Senate will make him the first Latino senator from the State; Congresswoman Karen Bass, who was on the vice presidential short-list for President-elect Joe Biden; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia; State Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego; Treasurer Fiona Ma; and State Controller Betty Yee.
"I am honoured that my name is in the mix. But I also represent a very powerful constituency....Silicon Valley. So, we'll see where things go. I am open to whatever opportunity...where I can be most effective," Ro Khanna told PTI when asked about news reports.
According to a recent poll by the University of Southern California, 14 per cent want a Latino as the next Senator. But 29 per cent of those interviewed want someone having experience in Washington. As per the poll, 11 per cent of the respondents preferred Barbara Lee and eight per cent picked Ro Khanna.
"I think there are a lot of great people out there, but what I hope is that the governor picks someone clearly with progressive views," Ro Khanna told ABC News.
Ro Khanna was co-chair of the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.
On Thursday, IMPACT, a leading Indian-American advocacy and political action committee, endorsed Ro Khanna to fill the seat to be vacated by Kamala Harris.
"IMPACT urges Governor Newsom to consider Representative Ro Khanna. He has the essential qualities to meet this moment: At a time when we are deeply divided, Ro has demonstrated an ability to bring together progressives, moderates, and even some Republicans," Impact executive director Neil Makhija said.
"As an Indian American, Ro also represents the fastest growing community in California. As millions of Black and Brown children around the country see the promise of America in the new Vice President-elect, her replacement should offer the same hope and representation for Californians," Neil Makhija said.