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What happens to Harris's Senate seat now that she's running for VP?

How to pronounce Kamala Harris' name
Posted at 4:35 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 21:24:49-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With Senator Kamala Harris being selected as presidential candidate Joe Biden's running mate, some questions are being raised about how that might affect her U.S. Senate seat.

Harris has held her seat in California for over three years, and running a campaign while in office is not new to her. Before she was named Biden's running mate, she had a brief stint atop the pack of Democratic candidates during the current election.

"She’s gonna remain a senator, she’ll be a senator through the inauguration, so that’s January," said Allen Bolar, a political science professor at Bakersfield College.

Bolar says just because Harris is back in the national political spotlight, doesn’t mean she’ll be neglecting her senatorial duties. He says it’s normal for senators to campaign for their own seat while serving in office, and Harris campaigning for vice president won’t be much different. She did it recently while seeking the presidential nomination herself, and other recent candidates who took to the campaign trail while in the senate include candidates like Tim Kaine, John Kerry, and Barack Obama.

"They miss some votes, they may miss some committee activities that they would normally have been a part of," Bolar said.

Harris may be bound to her senate seat for now. But come November if she becomes VP it would be up to Governor Gavin Newsom to appoint a new senator.

“So he could appoint someone to fill in as soon as that seat opens, and then have a special election at some point later," Bolar said.

The U.S. Constitution says the person that is appointed to the senate would not serve a full 6-year term, instead filling out the remainder of Harris’s term, which expires during the 2022 election cycle.