Newsom Selects Replacement For Feinstein

In the wake of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s passing last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Laphonza Butler, a prominent Democratic strategist and president of the political action committee Emily’s List, as her replacement until the conclusion of Feinstein’s term in January 2025. This appointment has struck a chord within political circles, given Butler’s known allegiance to pro-abortion policies and previous advisory roles to Vice President Kamala Harris and Hillary Clinton.

California’s political landscape remains a Democrat stronghold, with many ambitious Democrats having long coveted Feinstein’s Senate seat. Newsom’s decision circumvented the aspirations of in-state party loyalists such as Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Katie Porter (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA). This move sustains the precarious Democratic majority in the Senate. It underscores the vital importance of every Senate seat in forwarding the leftist Biden agenda.

Notably, Butler has never held an elected office despite her extensive experience in California politics and tenure with organizations like the Service Employees International Union. Her appointment is largely symbolic, fulfilling Newsom’s promise to appoint a Black woman to any vacant Senate seat. Butler is now the only Black woman in the U.S. Senate and the first openly LGBT representative for California in the upper chamber.

However, appointing an out-of-state, Maryland-based resident like Butler over California resident Barbara Lee raises questions about Newsom’s commitment to true representation of Californians. Lee, perceived by many as the likely replacement, met Newsom’s purported selection criteria, and her supporters touted her courage, vision, and progressive record. However, the Congressional Black Caucus’s endorsement of Lee did not secure her the Senate seat.

The choice of Butler, a radical pro-choice and LGBT advocate, is seen by conservatives as a continuation of the progressive agenda, with Newsom prioritizing ideological alignment over electoral experience or state residency. Butler’s leadership of Emily’s List, an organization committed to electing Democratic pro-abortion women, and her candid declarations on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, about her commitment to opposing “MAGA extremists” and promoting pro-choice Democratic women, showcase her unwavering ideological stance.

Anthony York, Newsom’s spokesperson, clarified that Butler is not restricted from participating in the 2024 Senate race, creating a potential platform for her to solidify her political standing in the upcoming years. Newsom seems to be building a network of ideologically aligned, handpicked representatives, potentially cementing his influence within the Senate.

Newsom’s statement characterized Butler as a “second-generation fighter for working people” and an “advocate for women and girls.” He praised her commitment to “carry the baton” left by Feinstein and to fight for “reproductive freedom, equal protection, and safety from gun violence.”