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A number of California Democrats long had designs on Sen. Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat, including Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, and Barbara Lee. The decision concerning Feinstein's successor following her death last week was, however, beyond their control, left instead to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom announced Sunday that Laphonza Butler, the Maryland-based head of the radical pro-abortion political action committee Emily's List and former adviser to failed presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Hillary Clinton, would warm the seat until the end of Feinstein's term in 2024.
Laphonza's rapid appointment ensures that Democrats will maintain their edge in the Senate and get their way as it pertains to judicial appointments and spending decisions this week. While Republicans hold 49 of the Senate's 100 seats, Democrats hold a majority with their 48 seats, the two independents who caucus with them, and the third independent who frequently votes their way.
Hours after Feinstein's death, the NAACP told Newsom Friday, "Now the time has come for you to keep your promise."
Just as President Joe Biden vowed to pick a Supreme Court judge on the basis of her skin color and sex, Newsom's similarly pledged to select a Senate temp on the basis of her immutable characteristics, reported the Guardian.
This is not the first time that race has ostensibly been a deciding factor in a Newsom Senate appointment. When Kamala Harris left her U.S. Senate seat in California to become vice president, Newsom picked his personal friend, former state Secretary of State Alex Padilla, to replace her, reportedly heeding calls to give California its first Latino senator.
Supporters of 77-year-old Rep. Barbara Lee figured she was a shoe-in, having satisfied Newsom's two key criteria this time around.
The Congressional Black Caucus wrote to Newsom Sunday ahead of his decision, stressing that Lee "is the only person with the courage, the vision, and the record to eradicate poverty, face down the fossil fuel industry, defend our democracy, and tirelessly advance the progressive agenda,” reported Politico.
Rather than Lee, a black California resident, Newsom chose Butler, who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
According to Anthony York, a spokesman for Newsom, the governor would not demand that Butler stay out of the 2024 Senate race, meaning that Lee, who was trailing Schiff and Porter by double digits in recent polls for the Senate race, could stand to miss out twice on the seat inside a year's time.
"An advocate for women and girls, a second-generation fighter for working people, and a trusted adviser to Vice President Harris, Laphonza Butler represents the best of California, and she'll represent us proudly in the United States Senate," Newsom said in a Sunday statement, adding that Butler will "carry the baton" in advancing the pro-abortion and gun control agendas in Washington.
After spending nearly two decades at the Service Employees International Union and serving both as a California adviser to Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign in 2016 and an a senior adviser to the widely unpopular vice president during her failed 2020 presidential campaign, Butler took the top job at Emily's List in 2021.
Emily's List is a leftist outfit that raises money to support prospective female lawmakers who will support the abortion agenda once in office. The PAC claims to have helped 26 pro-abortion women to the Senate and 175 women to the House.
Upon taking the post at the pro-abortion PAC, Butler claimed that pro-life legislation across the country "threatens our very democracy" and is, in combination with imagined "voter suppression" efforts, "part of the decades-long Republican effort to undermine our democracy, disenfranchise people of color, and subvert our elections."
Butler has made clear she seeks a uniformly Democratic state that guarantees women the legal ability to exterminate their offspring, indicating on X that she is fighting to "vote out every MAGA extremist and replace them all with a Democratic pro-choice woman."
Extra to being an exponent of the abortion regime, Butler, a lesbian, is also an outspoken LGBT activist.
Tony Hoang, the executive director of the LGBT activist organization Equality California, 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. ... We look forward to working with Laphonza as she steps into this new role and continues her lifelong fight for our shared values of equity, freedom, and justice for all."
State Sen. Scott Wiener — the Democrat who claimed that "the word groomer is categorically an anti-LGBTQ hate word" and successfully pushed a law enabling judges to keep men who prey on grade-schoolers 10 years their junior, between the ages of 14 and 17, off sex-offender registries — claimed that Newsom "elevating a Black lesbian to the U.S. Senate is a powerful statement," reported the New York Times.
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.