California Governor to Name Laphonza Butler, Former Kamala Harris Adviser, to Feinstein Senate Seat

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    LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom will name Laphonza Butler, a Democratic strategist and adviser to Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign, to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a spokesman in his office said Sunday.

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    In choosing Butler, Newsom fulfilled his pledge to appoint a Black woman if Feinstein’s seat should become open. However, he had been facing pressure by some Black politicians and advocacy groups to select Rep. Barbara Lee, a prominent Black congresswoman who is already running for the seat.

    The long-serving Democratic senator died last Thursday after a series of illnesses. Butler leads Emily’s List, a political organization that supports Democratic women candidates who favor abortion rights. She also is a former labor leader with SEIU 2015, a powerful force in California politics.

    Butler currently lives in Maryland, according to her Emily’s List biography.

    She did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman in Newsom’s office who declined to be named confirmed to The Associated Press that Newsom had chosen Butler.

    Democrats control the Senate 51-49, though Feinstein’s seat is vacant. A quick appointment by Newsom will give the Democratic caucus more wiggle room on close votes, including nominations that Republicans uniformly oppose. She could be sworn in as early as Tuesday evening when the Senate returns to session.

    Feinstein, the oldest member of Congress and the longest-serving woman in the Senate, died at age 90 after a series of illnesses. She said in February she was would not seek reelection in 2024. Lee is one of several prominent Democrats competing for the seat, including Democratic U.S. Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff. Newsom said he did not want to appoint any of the candidates because it would give them an unfair advantage in the race.

    His spokesman Anthony York said the governor did not ask Butler to commit to staying out of the race. Dec. 8 is the deadline for candidates to file for the office.

    Butler has never held elected office but has a long track record in California politics. She served as a senior adviser to Harris’s 2020 presidential campaign while working at a political firm filled with strategists who have worked for Newsom and many other prominent state Democrats. She also briefly worked in the private sector for Airbnb.

    She called Feinstein “a legendary figure for women in politics and around the country,” in a statement posted after Feinstein’s death.

    Emily’s List, the group Butler leads, focuses on electing Democratic women who support abortion rights. With the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn women’s constitutional right to abortion, the issue has become a galvanizing one for many Democrats.

    It’s not Newsom’s first time selecting a U.S. senator, after being tasked with choosing a replacement for Kamala Harris when she was elected vice president; at that time he selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla for the post. It was one of a string of appointments Newsom made in late 2020 and early 2021, a power that gave him kingmaker status among the state’s ambitious Democrats.

    The seat is expected to stay in Democratic hands in the 2024 election. Democrats in the liberal-leaning state have not lost a statewide election since 2006, and the party holds a nearly 2-to-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans.


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    41 Comments
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    Just a thought
    Just a thought
    9 months ago

    If she was the adviser to that fool you could imagine her IQ.

    ananymous
    ananymous
    9 months ago

    Makes no diffeence her qualifications. as long as she is black. 14% of the population is ruling the other 86%

    Going down fast
    Going down fast
    9 months ago

    Just another nail in the coffin for the United States of America..

    Democrats support mutilating confused children.
    Democrats support mutilating confused children.
    9 months ago

    The current criteria for dems are.
    1 Are you white?
    2 Are you a male?
    3 Can your se*ual encounters lead to children?
    The answer to all 3 must be No.

    Kvetch
    Kvetch
    9 months ago

    AOC the barista can make tea for the BUTLER while they discuss how to murder more unborn fetuses.

    Educated Archy
    Educated Archy
    9 months ago

    Whatever she checks all the boxes

    Lgb
    Lgb
    9 months ago

    Um she’s from Maryland

    Mike
    Mike
    9 months ago

    Foohy

    Moshe
    Moshe
    9 months ago

    She was appointed as a placeholder. It would have been awkward for the governor to appoint one of the declared candidates for the seat.

    Marcia
    Marcia
    9 months ago

    As long as she’s black and female it doesn’t matter if she has any sechel

    Paul Near Philadelphia
    Paul Near Philadelphia
    9 months ago

    She is a placeholder. The governor seems to have appointed her in order to ensure nobody running for the seat will have the advantage of being the incumbent.

    Phil A Dendron
    Phil A Dendron
    9 months ago

    As usual, racism raises its ugly head here.