Gavin Newsom picks Labonza Butler to fill Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has chosen Labonza Butler to fill the Senate seat vacated by California’s death. Sen. Dianne FeinsteinTwo sources familiar with the decision confirmed to CBS News.

Butler is the president of EMILY’s List, an organization dedicated to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights. Butler will be the first woman to lead Emily’s List when she joins the company in 2021. He previously served as a senior campaign advisor to Kamala Harris during her 2020 presidential campaign. He also served as director of public policy at Airbnb and has a long history as a labor leader.

Butler was not immediately available for comment.

Feinstein, 90, had about 15 months left on her term when she died last week. Butler’s swift appointment would help improve Democrats’ narrow majority in the Senate. Long term financing for Govt A weekend shutdown was temporarily averted after a last-minute deal.

Politics Butler’s appointment was first announced.

EMILYs List President Laphonza Butler on March 7, 2023.

Araya Doheny/Getty Images for EMILYs List


On NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this month, Newsom said she would stick to her pledge to appoint a black woman to Feinstein’s position, while also saying she hoped she wouldn’t have to make that decision. But Newsom also said she would not be filled by one of the Democrats running to succeed Feinstein in the 2024 election, saying such a move would be “absolutely unfair to Democrats who have worked their tails off.”

There is no requirement that it be an interim replacement, so Butler could run for the full position in 2024. Complicating matters, in addition to next year’s scheduled Democratic Senate primary, California voters are expected to hold a special election to decide who to choose. The last few months of Feinstein’s term are winding down.

Among those jumping into the 2024 race after Feinstein are Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Katie Porter included. It was announced earlier this year That she would never run again. It was not immediately clear whether any of them, or Butler, would enter the expected special election for the remainder of Feinstein’s term.

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