Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) announced Thursday she will not run for a full term in the Senate next year after she replaced the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) earlier this month.
Butler told The New York Times in an interview that she realized during her initial weeks in the upper chamber the seat is “not the greatest use of my voice” and plans to be the “the loudest, proudest champion of California” throughout her year in office.
“I’ve always believed elected leaders should have real clarity about why they’re in office and what they want to do with the responsibility and power they have. I’ve spent the past 16 days pursuing my own clarity — what kind of life I want to have, what kind of service I want to offer and what kind of voice I want to bring forward,” Butler said in a subsequent statement.
“After considering those questions I’ve decided not to run for a full term in the U.S. Senate,” Butler said. “Knowing you can win a campaign doesn’t always mean you should run a campaign. I know this will be a surprise to many because traditionally we don’t see those who have power let it go. It may not be the decision people expected but it’s the right one for me.”
Butler recently left her post as president of EMILY’s List to accept California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) appointment to replace Feinstein, who was a titanic figure in Democratic and California politics for more than three decades.
The move also likely sets in stone the Democratic field for the seat, which includes Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).
Steve Garvey, a former Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres first baseman, has announced a bid as a Republican in the coming jungle primary.
The hill for Butler to climb in a Senate bid would have been steep because she had roughly two months to decide before the early December filing deadline and the other Democratic candidates have been fundraising for an extended period. Butler has been in office for less than three weeks, two of which have been spent away from the Capitol. The Senate was in recess last week, and she has been absent this week after testing positive for COVID-19.