California Gov. Gavin Newsom selected Democrat Laphonza Butler on Sunday night to complete Sen. Dianne Fienstien’s term in the U.S. Senate after the late senator passed away last week.
“Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the selection of Laphonza Butler — the President of the nation’s largest organization dedicated to electing women, EMILY’s List — to complete the United States Senate term of the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, which runs through 2024,” Newsom’s press release stated.
Butler’s political background has deep ties with the Democrat Party. According to USA Today, Butler had gotten her start in California politics and met Kamala Harris, then the district attorney of San Francisco. While she worked as a labor leader for SEIU in 2015, she eventually became Harris’ senior advisor on her 2020 presidential campaign.
The Democratic strategist also has been President of EMILY’s List since 2021, a political organization which, according to their website, states that they support and invest in “Democratic pro-choice women” to help get them elected to office.
Butler got her start in California; however, according to her individual donation records, she has not been a resident of the state since at least September 2021, The New York Post reported. The California governor also indicated that she would remain on the East Coast for the time being.
A spokesperson for Newsom’s office told The Post that Butler is a “longtime California resident and homeowner” and “has already re-registered [to vote] in California,” after Newsom had stated that she would “fight for all Californians in Washington D.C.”
“Laphonza will carry the baton left by Senator Feinstein, continue to break glass ceilings, and fight for all Californians in Washington D.C.,” Newsom stated on Sunday.
The California governor also touted the fact that Butler would be the state’s first “Black lesbian” to “openly serve in Congress in American history,” which fulfills a pledge he made in 2021 to name a Black woman to succeed Feinstein.
While Butler will only be filling the Senate seat till the 2024 elections, it is unclear if she will eventually join in the race for the seat against top Democrat candidates Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee.