California Gov. Gavin Newsom named his nominee for the seat held by late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died on Thursday: Laphonza Butler, a 44-year-old Democratic political strategist. Politico first reported the planned appointment, citing a person familiar with the situation. Butler, a Black woman, is currently the president of Emily’s List—a political action committee that “aims to help elect Democratic female candidates in favor of abortion rights to office,” according to its website. Newsom moved quickly to announce Feinstein’s successor, likely due to Democrats’ desperate need to maintain their razor-thin majority in the chamber. The pick solidifies Newsom’s promise to name a Black woman to the Senate if given the opportunity, after he faced blowback for selecting Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), a Hispanic man, to fill Kamala Harris’ seat when she became vice president. Butler will hold office through 2024 and, according to Politico sources, has Newsom’s blessing to campaign to win the seat outright next term.
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