Report: Gavin Newsom Will Appoint EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler to Fill Feinstein’s Senate Seat

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: Emily's List President Laphonza Butler address a Biden-Harris ca
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will reportedly appoint EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler to fill the Senate seat that Dianne Feinstein vacated upon her recent death.

“Newsom is moving swiftly to name the next senator, two days after Feinstein’s death and just as a perilously split Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown. Senate Democrats are in need of every vote in the closely divided chamber,” reported Politico on Sunday.

The New York Times confirmed on Sunday that Newsom would be appointing Butler to fill the U.S. Senate seat.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) listens during the Senate Judiciary Committee mark-up hearing of S.359, the “Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act” on Thursday, July 20, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Anthony York, an adviser to Newsom, told Politico that Newsom would make his appointment so as not to shift the momentum of the current Democrats running for the seat in 2024. Butler would have to battle it out with the likes of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) if she wants to secure the seat again for another six years. Per Politico:

Newsom faced considerable pressure around the decision after first pledging to name a Black woman to the seat. Several potential nominees said publicly they were not interested. Some others privately expressed trepidation about accepting a short-term appointment and then having to immediately gear up for what would be a five-month campaign.

The swift nature of Newsom’s appointment cuts politicians and their allies off from mounting more sustained efforts to lobby the governor and his inner circle over his pick. And it halts interest groups that were starting to apply pressure on him, including over the question of whether he would require them to serve only temporarily. On Sunday, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Steven Horsford wrote to Newsom urging him to appoint Rep. Barbara Lee, a candidate for the Senate whom the governor recently ruled out over worries about giving someone a leg up.

As Breitbart News reported, Gavin Newsom had previously said he would only appoint a caretaker to replace Feinstein in the event of her death.

“I don’t want to get involved in the primary,” Newsom said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom talks to reporters September 27, 2023, in Simi Valley, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Since multiple Democrats have aimed for Feinstein’s seat, including Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), Newsom said that it would be unfair to appoint someone who would run for reelection.

“It would be completely unfair to the Democrats that have worked their tail off. That primary is just a matter of months away. I don’t want to tip the balance of that,” Newsom said.

Since Newsom said he would appoint a black woman to the seat, he essentially said he would abide by his past statements.

“We hope we never have to make this decision, but I abide by what I’ve said very publicly on a consistent basis. Yes,” he said.

Butler would be the first openly LGBTQ member to represent the Golden State in the U.S. Senate. People on social media noted that her X profile actually listed Maryland as her state of residence, not California.

Paul Roland Bois joined Breitbart News in 2021. He also directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed for FREE on YouTube or Tubi. A high-quality, ad-free stream can also be purchased on Google Play or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.


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