Newsom Appoints Laphonza Butler To Fill Feinstein’s Senate Seat, Making Her The First Black Lesbian To Serve In U.S. Senate

Posted October 1, 2023 by with 13 comments

She has no voting record since she’s never held elected office, so I wonder how the right-wing will try and attack her. She’s black and lesbian, so I’m sure the MAGAts are losing their minds. Good. Via NBC:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has chosen Laphonza Butler, the president of EMILY’s List, to fill the seat of the late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the governor’s office confirmed to NBC News.

In California, the governor has the power to appoint a senator to serve until the next regularly scheduled statewide general election. That means that Butler will serve until the next senator, whom voters will choose in the November 2024 election, is sworn in.

Butler has led EMILY’s List, which works to elect Democratic women, since 2021, when she became the first Black woman to lead the organization. On Friday, she posted a tribute to Feinstein on social media, calling her “a titan in the Senate” and “a legendary figure for women in politics and around the country.”


Butler will have to campaign and be elected come next November, assuming she wants to keep the seat. Her competitors are likely to be a few California congresspeople currently service in the U.S. House, including Katie Porter, Barbara Lee, and Adam Schiff.

Via Butler’s Wiki:

Butler was elected President of the California SEIU State Council in 2013. She undertook efforts to boost California’s minimum wage and raise income taxes on the wealthiest Californians.[4] As President of SEIU Local 2015, Butler endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.[7]

In 2015, Butler was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to a 12-year term as a regent of the University of California.[6] She resigned from her role as regent in 2021.[8]

Butler joined SCRB Strategies as a partner in 2018. At SCRB, she played a central role in Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign. Butler was known as a political ally of Harris since her first run for California Attorney General in 2010, when she helped Harris negotiate a shared SEIU endorsement in the race.[4][9]

Butler left SCRB in 2020 to join Airbnb as Director of Public Policy and Campaigns in North America.[10][5]

Butler was named the third president of EMILY’s List in 2021. She was the first Black woman and the first mother to lead the organization.

Butler is openly lesbian.[13] Butler and her partner, Neneki Lee, have a daughter, Nylah. They live in Los Angeles.[9]

There’s already some drama among hardcore leftists who aren’t happy with Butler’s connections to Kamala and Hillary, and they’re taking issue with the fact that Butler appears to currently reside in Maryland. That’s kind of a big deal and worthy of criticism, given, uhh, the senate seat is for California. Via AP:

Butler currently lives in Maryland, according to her Emily’s List biography. She did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. A spokesman in Newsom’s office who declined to be named confirmed to The Associated Press that Newsom had chosen Butler.

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