Oprah Winfrey could be the next member of the U.S. Senate. 

That may seem outlandish, but it has a certain political logic – and it is increasingly been floated as an idea in California political circles.

It’s been over two years since California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said he would choose a black woman to replace Feinstein, and people haven’t forgotten. After Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s multiple hospital visits and health scares, Newsom now faces even more pressure to select a replacement for her if she decides to resign.

Many observers have questioned Feinstein’s capacity to serve the Senate. Her recent hospital visit was caused by shingles, which in turn caused other health problems, including Ramsay Hunt syndrome, hearing loss and encephalitis. She’s also been using a wheelchair since returning from the hospital and will turn 90 next month. 


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Kerman Maddox, a black Democratic strategist and fundraiser, said that Rep. Barbara Lee “is far and away the most qualified African American woman to replace Sen. Feinstein if a vacancy becomes available.” 

Currently, Lee is the only black woman running to replace Feinstein. The other candidates, U.S. Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Eric Early, are white. 

With numerous suggestions for the replacement, Newsom is also contemplating a caretaker instead of a candidate. Now, Winfrey’s name has been brought up in a number of social media posts.

Winfrey, a celebrity talk show host, would meet Newsom’s promise of picking a black woman should Feinstein resign early. If Winfrey is chosen to be a caretaker, the decision as to who will replace Feinstein will be up to the voters, solving a tough political problem for the governor.

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