California Governor Gavin Newsom will appoint Democratic strategist Laphonza Butler to fill the U.S. Senate seat that was vacated after Dianne Feinstein’s passing.
The governor’s office confirmed this information to Inside California Politics soon after it was first reported by Politico Sunday night.
Butler will step down as president of EMILY’S List, a nationwide organization that works to elect women who support abortion rights.
On Monday morning Butler shared a statement further confirming her appointment to the position and sharing her thanks for the position
I am honored to accept Gov. Newsom’s nomination to be a U.S. Senator for a state I have long called home. I am humbled by the Governor’s trust. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s leadership and legacy are immeasurable. I will do my best to honor her by devoting my time and energy to serving the people of California and the people of this great nation.
The truly bittersweet part of this appointment is leaving my role at EMILYs List. I have been proud of the work we have done and am grateful to all of the members of the Board, the staff, our donors, and candidates who work every day to ensure more Democratic pro-choice women can run, win, and change the world.
For women and girls, for workers and unions, for struggling parents waiting for our leaders to bring opportunity back to their homes, for all of California, I’m ready to serve.Laphonza Butler
According to Politico, Newsom is making the appointment without putting limitations or preconditions on Butler if she wishes to run for a full term in 2024.
Butler’s appointment fulfills Newsom’s pledge to appoint a Black woman to the Senate if Feinstein’s seat were vacated early.
In comments made earlier this year, the governor appeared to say he would only appoint someone who would not run for a full term, which ruled out the leading Democratic candidates in the race for the seat, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Katie Porter and Rep. Barbara Lee.
Since Kamala Harris ascended to the vice presidency, there has not been a Black woman in the Senate.
In response to the appointment, Barbara Lee commented to FOX40’s Nikki Laurenzo, saying, “I wish Laphonza well and look forward to working closely with her to deliver for the people of the Golden State. I am singularly focused on winning my campaign. No one should underestimate our unprecedented grassroots campaign, which is growing in momentum every day as we continue our mission to eradicate poverty, exterminate corporate welfare, and end austerity for working families.”
With Butler, Newsom will have appointed both U.S. Senators for California.
In December 2020, Newsom appointed Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate after Harris’s election to the vice presidency. Padilla later won an election for a full term.