California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has chosen Laphonza Butler, the President of EMILY's List - a pro-abortion organization, to fill the vacancy left by the late Senator Dianne Feinstein. This move is expected to raise Butler's profile significantly, given her advocacy for pro-abortion Democrat women.
Governor Newsom's swift decision to select the next senator comes just two days after Senator Feinstein's passing and as a narrowly divided Congress just avoided a government shutdown. In the closely divided Senate, each vote holds paramount importance for Senate Democrats.
The formal announcement of this appointment will be made Monday. Anthony York, an advisor to the governor, informed POLITICO that Newsom's appointment comes without any stipulations or conditions concerning the 2024 election. Consequently, Butler has the opportunity to enter the competitive field of Democratic candidates vying to succeed Feinstein. This election landscape now includes special elections, the March primary, and the November runoff.
Newsom's selection of Laphonza Butler for this position carries significant implications within California's political sphere, occurring in the wake of Senator Feinstein's passing. Of note, Butler is presently a registered voter in Maryland, but she reportedly intends to change her registration to California.
Governor Newsom encountered substantial pressure in making this decision after initially pledging to appoint a Black woman to the vacant Senate seat. Some potential candidates publicly declined interest, while others privately expressed reservations about assuming a short-term appointment followed by a rapid transition into a five-month campaign.
Butler had previously questioned the integrity of elections in a 2012 tweet.
Infamous state senator Scott Wiener, who is known for posing in bondage gear and promoting child sex changes, praised the pick, tweeting “Laphonza Butler is an exceptionally talented leader & a strong pick by Gavin Newsom. And, given the tidal wave of vile hate being directed at LGBTQ people in this country, sending a Black lesbian to the United States Senate sends a deeply powerful message of inclusion."
On Sunday, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Steven Horsford urged Newsom to appoint Rep. Barbara Lee, a Senate candidate who had been recently ruled out by the governor due to concerns about providing a political advantage.
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