WASHINGTON — National and state-by-state polls have former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump to win the presidential election in November. And for Biden’s Vice President, this week’s polls and betting markets show California Senator Kamala Harris as a runaway favorite. USC Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Christian Grose, follows election developments closely.

“I think [Harris’] chances are fairly high,” Grose said. “If you think about the 4 or 5 different people that Joe Biden might pick as Vice President, Harris is definitely one of the top tier candidates.”

What You Need To Know

  • National polls have former VP Joe Biden leading President Trump to win the presidential election

  • This week, polls and betting markets show CA Senator Kamala Harris as a favorite for Biden's running mate

  • Hypothetically if a Biden-Harris ticket wins the White House, Harris’ Senate seat will then be vacant and Newsom would appoint a new Senator

  • USC professor predicts several strong candidates in California

While we can expect Biden to announce his running mate early August, if he chooses Harris, and hypothetically, if a Biden-Harris ticket wins the White House, Harris’ coveted Senate seat will then be vacant. Governor Gavin Newsom would immediately appoint a new Senator and according to state election laws, the appointee serves until the next statewide general election and the winner in that election serves out the remainder of the term. So who would Newsom choose into the Senate seat and why?

“For Newsom, there’s a couple of different things, I think he wants an ally in Washington, DC, so someone he can trust and call on as the governor,” Grose said. 

Grose said a strong contender is Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who currently holds a unique position on Biden’s selection committee. Grose said other promising mayors include London Breed of San Fransisco and Robert Garcia of Long Beach, who have both shown a fresh and dynamic approach to politics. 

And then, of course, Governor Newsom could choose a congressional lawmaker from the US House. Grose said prominent potential candidates include: Reps. Adam Schiff (D-28), Jimmy Gomez (D-34), Katie Porter (D-45), Eric Swalwell (D-15), and Karen Bass, (D-37, if she’s not chosen for Vice President herself). 

“I don’t envy [Newsom]. I think in a state this large and diverse there are so many Democratic elected officials all of whom he needs to really work on cultivating and keeping relationships with,” Grose said. “Picking one of them and not picking others is going to make some feelings get hurt and it could create some enemies with people who are allies from within his own party right now and so I think he has to be careful. He has to think ‘Who could I pick that would make less of my Democratic allies mad at me?’ And so that’s something that’s really challenging. And then, of course, he needs to choose someone who is good for the position.”

Grose said if Republicans hold onto the majority in the Senate, Newsom may choose someone who can work well with moderate Republicans. It’s also possible Newsom chooses a firebrand, for symbolism, like the first Latino or LGBTQ Senator of California. 

“There’s a ton of uncertainty about who Newsom might pick, and even if Harris will be picked as V-P,” Grose said. 

DNC is the week of August 17th and RNC is the week right after that. Usually, candidates announce their running mates between July and August. President Barrack Obama announced Biden as his Vice President two days before the DNC.