California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint Laphonza Butler, the president of pro-abortion political group EMILY’s List, to replace Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, his spokesperson told multiple outlets Sunday.
Newsom had previously pledged to nominate a black woman to replace Feinstein if she was unable to finish her term in the Senate. Though Newsom had previously suggested that his pick to replace Feinstein would simply be a “caretaker” of the Senate seat, his selection of Butler was not contingent on her declining to run in 2024, according to Politico.
The decision throws a wrench into the Democratic primary to succeed Feinstein, who died Thursday and was planning to retire at the end of her term in 2024. Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee were vying for her seat. Butler could choose to run for the seat in 2024.
Lee, a black woman, had criticized Newsom for his “caretaker” remarks.
“I am troubled by the governor’s remarks,” Lee said following Newsom’s announcement that he would only appoint a caretaker to the role. “The idea that a Black woman should be appointed only as a caretaker to simply check a box is insulting to countless Black women across this country who have carried the Democratic Party to victory election after election
Butler currently leads EMILY’s List, a political action group committed to electing pro-abortion Democratic women. Butler was recently listed as a resident of Maryland in the group’s Federal Election Commission filings.
The group spent almost $5 million in political contributions during the 2022 election cycle, according to data from OpenSecrets.
Butler also was previously involved as an organizer with the powerful Service Employees International Union, according to Politico.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
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