Gavin Newsom Chooses Queer Democratic Activist Laphonza Butler to Fill Dianne Feinstein’s Senate Seat

Author: Alex Cooper

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has tapped out Democratic strategist Laphonza Butler to fill the Senate seat held by Dianne Feinstein, who died on Friday.

Butler will now be the first LGBTQ+ person of color to serve in the U.S Senate. She will serve the remainder of Feinstein’s term, which ends next year.

Newsom’s office confirmed the news of Butler’s selection to the Los Angeles Times. The Democratic governor fulfilled a promise to appoint a Black woman to the seat.

Butler leads EMILY’s List, a political group that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights. Before becoming president of EMILY’S List, Butler ran a labor union and served as an advisor for Vice President Kamala Harris’s 2020 presidential campaign.

Related: Dianne Feinstein: An LGBTQ+ Rights Champion

The Times notes that Butler’s selection is not only historic but it may cause even more complexity in the lead-up to the 2024 election. The outlet reports that Butler has deep connections across the Democratic political sphere in California and could very well fundraise enough to make her another top candidate to succeed Feinstein.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee of Oakland, Katie Porter of Irvine, and Adam B. Schiff of Burbank are all running for Feinstein’s Senate seat. Newsom had previously said he would not name one of the candidates to fill Feinstein’s seat — this was before her death and she was experiencing health problems that caused her to be absent from the Senate.

Equality California’s executive director Tony Hoang praised Newsom’s choice in selecting Butler.

“Laphonza Butler is eminently qualified to represent California well in the United States Senate and we are thrilled to congratulate her,” Hoang said in a statement. “This historic appointment by Governor Newsom will give our LGBTQ+ community another voice in Congress at a time when our rights and freedoms are under attack across the country.”

This story is developing…

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Alex Cooper

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