Headline RoundupOctober 3rd, 2023

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."

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