Newsom Picks Laphonza Butler To Replace Feinstein’s Senate Seat

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 07: EMILYs List President Laphonza Butler attends EMILYs List's 2023 Pre-Oscars Breakfast at The Beverly Hilton on March 07, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for EMILYs List)
EMILYs List President Laphonza Butler attends EMILYs List’s 2023 Pre-Oscars Breakfast at The Beverly Hilton on March 07, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for EMILYs List)

OAN’s James Meyers
8:36 AM – Monday, October 2, 2023

California Governor Gavin Newsom chose his replacement for the late Senator Dianne Feinstein. 


Newsom (D-Calif.) announced Monday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter that he has chosen Laphonza Butler to fill the vacant Senate seat in The Golden State.  

“As we mourn the enormous loss of Sen. Feinstein, the very freedoms she fought for — reproductive freedom, equal protection, and safety from gun violence — have never been under greater assault,” Newsom wrote. “Laphonza has spent her entire career fighting for women and girls and has been a fierce advocate for working people.”

Butler is the president of EMILYs List, which is an organization that is devoted to electing Democrat women who support abortion rights. 

Her previous stint was being a senior campaign adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris during her 2020 presidential campaign and she is also known as a labor leader.

“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 Monday. “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 and energy to serving the people of California and the people of this great nation.” last week at the age of 90. 

In the state of California, the governor has the power to appoint a replacement for a vacant Senate seat until the next election cycle, which will take place in November 2024. 

Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which is the country’s biggest LGBTQ rights organization, said the appointment of Butler is a “landmark moment in the fight for social, racial and economic justice. 

“As the first Black lesbian to represent California in the United States Senate, Laphonza brings a compelling voice for abortion rights, the labor movement and civil rights into Congress. Her leadership is a testament to the legacy of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s strong record of pro-LGBTQ+ support,” Robinson said.

Newsom in recent months had claimed he would appoint a Black woman if Senate seats in The Golden State became available. 

Additionally, Newsom said his choice would be an “interim” and would not choose candidates running in 2024 such as Representatives Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff and Katie Porter. 

Butler called Feinstein a “legendary figure for women in politics and around the country” in a statement posted on X after the Senator’s death last week.

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