Butler is the president of EMILY’s List, the self-described “nation’s largest resource dedicated to electing Democratic pro-choice women to office,” and a longtime labor leader in the Golden State. Newsom’s decision passes over Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Katie Porter (D-CA), the favorites to win Feinstein’s seat during next year’s election.
Feinstein’s term was slated to end in 2024, and Newsom had long implied he was only searching for an interim replacement. However, Newsom’s office confirmed to the Washington Examiner on Sunday that there will not be a “precondition” that this replacement is in the Senate only temporarily, setting Butler to potentially be a roadblock in the way of Schiff, Lee, and Porter’s election prospects.
Feinstein died on Friday at the age of 90. Butler reacted to the news on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I’m saddened to hear of the passing of Sen. @DianneFeinstein,” Butler posted. “Not only was she a titan in the Senate, but a legendary figure for women in politics and around the country. Her legacy and achievements will not be forgotten. My prayers are with her family. She will be deeply missed.”
Newsom reportedly worked quickly to make a decision as the Democrats held a precarious 51-49 advantage in the Senate. With a government shutdown just narrowly averted and Congress still very much at odds, the California Democrat likely saw the Democratic vote as essential.
This decision likely does not change Schiff, Lee, or Porter’s plans for 2024, and should she accept Newsom’s appointment, the decision will be Butler’s whether she seeks to run for a full Senate term as the incumbent alongside them.