Butler announces she won’t run to retain Senate seat in 2024

Despite being vaunted into an incumbent status by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Laphonza Butler won’t seek a full term in 2024.

Laphonza Butler, who was appointed less than three weeks ago to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Dianne Feinstein’s death, announced Thursday that she will not run for the office in the upcoming election.

In an interview with The New York Times, Butler stated that she intends to be a strong advocate for California during the remainder of her term, but she believes that running for the Senate is not the best use of her voice.


The background: Butler, a prominent labor leader in California who came to helm the Democratic Party’s largest non-party political action committee EMILY’s List, was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom, who promised to name a Black woman to complete Senator Feinstein’s term.

  • Butler, the ultimate Democratic political insider, had never held public office prior to Newsom’s appointment.
  • The move instantaneously shook up a pre-existing heated Senate battle for 2024, as Butler has a deep network of financial support through her work in labor and political circles.

The state of play: Multiple high-profile Democratic members of Congress, including Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee, are already campaigning for the Senate seat. In recent weeks, former Major League Baseball star Steve Garvey has also announced his candidacy as a Republican and Los Angeles TV anchor Christina Pascucci announced her bid as a Democrat.

  • Butler, in her announcement, said she has decided not to endorse any candidate in the upcoming Senate race, and praised all the Democratic contenders running and stated that she has a great deal of respect for them.

What she’s saying: “Knowing you can win a campaign doesn’t always mean you should run a campaign. I know this will be a surprise to many because traditionally we don’t see those who have power let it go,” Butler said. “It may not be the decision people expected, but it’s the right one for me.”

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