California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday is expected to name Emily’s List leader and former Labor leader Labonza Butler to fill the Senate vacancy left by the death of Dianne Feinstein, multiple sources confirmed Sunday. the night
Ms. Butler, 44, has been a fixture in California politics for nearly 15 years as a former president of the state’s largest labor union and an adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris. In 2021, she became the first black woman to head Emily’s List, a fundraising powerhouse dedicated to electing female candidates and reproductive rights advocates.
The appointment comes four days after Senator Feinstein’s death at the age of 90 on Thursday in Washington, DC.
Ms. Butler, the first appointee, was not immediately available for comment by Politico.
Mrs. In selecting Butler, Governor Newsom followed through on a pledge he made two years earlier to appoint a black woman to the Senate if there was a vacancy.
But at the time of Ms. Feinstein’s death, three top Democratic members of Congress had already entered the 2024 race to succeed her. Representatives Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee have been campaigning statewide in California for months.
A Democrat Mr. Newsom told NBC News last month that he doesn’t want to influence next year’s primary by giving one candidate an advantage. Instead, he said he would choose an interim replacement.
Her statement drew pushback from political allies of 77-year-old Ms Lee. But he is currently trailing the other two candidates in fundraising and polling.
Over the weekend, as speculation mounted about the governor’s pick, members of the Congressional Black Caucus released a letter to the governor voicing “strong support for Congresswoman Barbara Lee for that nomination.” Advocacy groups also put pressure on Ms Lee.
“Barbara Lee and black women are not just watchdogs, but the voting and organizing center of the national Democratic Party,” said Aimee Allison, founder of She the People, an organization that helps elect women of color to politics. Report. The governor, she added, must use the full force of her political influence “to ensure that black women in California and every state are represented for the long term.”
While Gov. Newsom said last month that he viewed the appointment as an interim task and did not intend to interfere with primary work, his chief spokesman, Anthony York, indicated on Sunday that the governor would not seek to appoint him from the Senate in 2024. race
In a post on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr. Bush joined Democratic Representative Cory Bush of Missouri. Yorke agreed, adding that there should be “no strings attached” to the appointment.
It’s a huge fundraiser on Emily’s List. Butler — leaving open the possibility that he could still enter the primary for a permanent Senate seat.
Ms. Butler became the first openly LGBTQ senator to represent California. State Sen. Scott Weiner, a Democrat, celebrated the nomination Sunday night.
“LGBTQ people are under attack in America right now, and the elevation of a black lesbian to the U.S. Senate is a powerful statement,” said Mr. Weiner said.
This is a growing story. Check back for updates.
Shane Goldmaker, Heather Knight And Reid J. Epstein Contributed report.