Who is Laphonza Butler, and Why Did Newsom Tap Her to Replace Feinstein?
Summary from AllSides News Team
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) picked Laphonza Butler to fill the vacant Senate seat left by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Who is she, and what does her selection say about California and the Democratic Party?
Butler's Resume: Most recently, Butler was the president of EMILY's List, a political action committee (PAC) that works to elect pro-choice female candidates to office. Previously, she advised Kamala Harris' vice presidential campaign while working for SCRB Strategies, and also served as president of California's SEIU State Council, where she led efforts to raise California's minimum wage and income taxes.
Other Options: Newsom selected Butler over a handful of black female lawmakers in California, including Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who is gearing up to run for the seat next year. Newsom said it would be "completely unfair to the Democrats" running for the seat if he chose one of them as Feinstein's interim replacement.
What the Left Said: Many on the left highlighted praise of Newsom's choice, alongside questions about how it may affect next year's race for the seat. Some progressive voices questioned why Newsom chose Butler over Lee.
What the Right Said: Many on the right focused on criticisms of Butler, including her apparent Maryland residency and prior support for eliminating cash bail. One National Review (Right bias) writer said Butler's appointment is "marinated in identity politics at its most craven."
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the RightGavin Newsom’s Choice for Senator Is a Pure Political Play
You have to wonder what Dianne Feinstein, a no-nonsense senator whom leading Democrats often criticized for focusing on policy rather than politics, would have thought of the choice to replace her.
Laphonza Butler, the political organizer chosen by Governor Gavin Newsom to fill her Senate seat, commendably rose from poverty in Magnolia, Miss., where her widowed mother worked to support three children. She rose from heading a union local to becoming director of public policy at Airbnb. At age 44, her current job is heading the liberal feminist group EMILY’s List in...
From the CenterWho is Laphonza Butler, California’s incoming senator?
Laphonza Butler is set to make history as the first LGBTQ+ person to represent California in the Senate.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) appointed her just two days after the death of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was the longest-serving female senator.
“I am honored to accept Gov. Newsom’s nomination to be a U.S. Senator for a state I have long called home,” Butler said in a statement after the appointment.
“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...
From the LeftButler Pick Draws Praise, Mounting Speculation Over 2024 Plans
California Gov. Gavin Newsom's appointment of Laphonza Butler to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by the late Dianne Feinstein has evoked praise from progressives across California — along with mounting speculation over whether Butler will run for a full Senate term next year.
Butler, a Democratic adviser and labor leader, is expected to be sworn in as a U.S. senator Tuesday by Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol.
Most recently, Butler has led Emily's List, a national organization dedicated to electing more women to political office...