Los Angeles congressman named next attorney general, musical chairs ensues

becerraGov. Jerry Brown on Thursday tapped Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra to be California’s next attorney general. 

Becerra, who would need to be confirmed by the Legislature, would fill the impending vacancy left by Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last month. The nomination will not be official until Harris resigns. 

“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant – in the state Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” Gov. Brown said in a statement. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”

Prior to being elected to Congress in 1992, Becerra served one term in the state Assembly. He also served several years as deputy attorney general.

“Governor Jerry Brown has presented me with an opportunity I cannot refuse,” Becerra tweeted. 

What it means for the state

The pick breaks up the Bay Area’s stranglehold on statewide offices – only two of the eight statewide elective office holders are from outside the Bay Area. Becerra, from Los Angeles, will be the third.

The pick also ends months of speculation, which at times suggested Brown would pick his wife, Anne Brown Gust (Brown dismissed those rumors). Becerra’s name had not been previously mentioned, but the timing coincides with House Democrats’ leadership elections earlier this week.

Glass ceiling in Congress

Becerra, the fourth highest ranking Democrat in the House, for years has been limited by leadership’s glass ceiling and Nancy Pelosi’s re-election as minority leader this week only reaffirmed that Becerra had limited options.

Becerra was set to be forced out of leadership, having served his two terms. He had been seeking the top Democratic spot on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Musical chairs

If confirmed, Becerra leaves his own vacancy and shakes up the 2018 statewide elections.

Becerra has not announced any intentions beyond accepting the appointment, but as a statewide officeholder, he would have a bigger platform to run for the attorney general (of which he’d be a frontrunner as the incumbent) and possibly governor or Senate, should incumbent Dianne Feinstein decide to step down. 

CQ Roll Call reported that soon after Brown’s announcement, former Assembly Speaker John A. Perez announced his intention to run for Beccara’s spot in Congress. The seat is safely Democratic — Becerra had just been re-elected with 77.2 percent of the vote against a fellow Democrat. 

“In the aftermath of November’s election nationwide, two facts are clearer than ever,” Perez said in a statement, according to CQ Roll Call. “The first is that we need to fight harder than ever to protect the progress we’ve made. The second is that California is the one place in the country where Democrats know how to win, and the one place in the country where government is working.”

Earlier this week, Perez had told Politico he was mulling a run for chairman of the Democratic National Committee.


Becerra should face an easy confirmation in the Legislature, which is overwhelmingly run by Democrats. Following Brown’s announcement, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon sent his support.

“With his long record of public service in the Attorney General’s office, the Assembly, and Congress, Xavier Becerra clearly has the experience to step into this vital role,” the Paramount Democrat said in a statement. “Just as important, he has great tenacity and he respects the rights of all Californians — much-needed qualities for an Attorney General given the troubling times ahead. I applaud Governor Brown for making this bold and inspired choice.”


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  1. John Galt
    John Galt 1 December, 2016, 11:43

    Xavier Becerra, California Bar #118517, has not practiced law since Dec 31, 1990, when he placed his license on “inactive” status. Before then, he only worked a couple years as a staff attorney for a Democrat state politician. He has zero working experience as a currently practicing attorney, and probably no current working knowledge of US or California civil or criminal law. As 26 years have passed since he was licensed, will he need to retake and pass the California Bar Exam to prove his legal competence? Or, is he just another poser on his political career ride … a parasite on tax payers’ good will. Good luck California…you’re turning into just another corrupt province of Mexico.

    Reply this comment
  2. red
    red 1 December, 2016, 11:53

    ALL Californians? Even gun owners? not likely

    Reply this comment
  3. Marty
    Marty 1 December, 2016, 12:29

    “The first is that we need to fight harder than ever to protect the progress we’ve made. The second is that California is the one place in the country where Democrats know how to win, and the one place in the country where government is working.”

    If they think that California government is the only place where governance works in this great nation do they have it wrong. Look at the excessive regulations, far left attitudes that are driving companies away from California. Look at our education system where progressive indoctrination is king. Why is it that we ranked in the bottom quartile in quality of education and graduation rates. Look at the total disregard toward the Second Amendment and the total waste of money in enforcing what will prove to be unconstitutional restrictions on the second amendment. Look at Pelosi, a leader in the Democratic Party, whose leadership has contributed to one the greatest upsets in U.S. elections in my lifetime. I can go on for pages of where the above quote from your article is pure fantasy and when this state goes bankrupt (both financially and morally) let’s see what kind of comments you have then.

    Reply this comment
  4. Mike
    Mike 1 December, 2016, 16:51

    No doubt approved by the Mexican govt before the announcement. What are the chances these piece of feces enforces federal immigration law? He would look good at Guantanimo prison servicing the other prisoners on his knees. Gurgle….

    Reply this comment

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