Laphonza Butler, the first openly LGBTQ person to represent California in the Senate, has announced that she will not be seeking a full Senate term in the upcoming election. Appointed by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom after the passing of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Butler was sworn in on October 3. Her decision not to run for a full term comes as a surprise to many.
Butler stated, “Knowing you can win a campaign doesn’t always mean you should run a campaign. I’ve spent the past 16 days pursuing my clarity — what kind of life I want to have, what kind of service I want to offer, and what kind of voice I want to bring forward. After considering those questions, I’ve decided not to run for Senate in the upcoming election.”
While this decision may come as unexpected, Butler, who is also the third Black woman to serve in the Senate, has committed to fulfilling the remainder of Feinstein’s term until January 2025 with unwavering dedication, stating that she will give it “every ounce of energy and effort that I have.”
Governor Newsom, who had initially planned an “interim” appointment to avoid influencing the Senate election, clarified that there were no restrictions on Butler’s appointment, leaving her free to run next year if she chooses to do so.
Laphonza Butler’s background includes leading EMILY’s List, a group focused on electing Democratic women who support abortion rights. In her statement, she acknowledged that her decision might surprise some, saying, “It may not be the decision people expected, but it’s the right one for me.” This decision marks a significant development in California’s political landscape and the LGBTQ community’s representation in government.