California Senator Laphonza Butler Opts Out of 2024 Senate Race

Recently appointed California Senator Laphonza Butler has announced that she will not run for a full Senate term in the 2024 election.

Her decision averts a contest featuring three high-profile Democratic candidates vying for the Senate seat left vacant by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Butler’s choice not to run comes after 16 days of personal reflection and the consideration of the life she wishes to lead and the service she desires to provide. In a statement, Butler expressed her decision, stating, “After considering those questions, I’ve decided not to run for Senate in the upcoming election. Knowing you can win a campaign doesn’t always mean you should run a campaign.”

This news also relieves Governor Gavin Newsom from having to decide whether to endorse the candidate he had appointed to replace Feinstein. Although Newsom initially implied that his appointee would be an interim selection, he later clarified that he would not pressure Butler to abstain from the 2024 Senate race.

With Butler’s withdrawal, the 2024 race for the Senate seat in California remains focused on the three Democratic candidates who have already been campaigning vigorously. Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, and Barbara Lee have each been working to carve out their niche in the crowded field.

Schiff has leveraged his extensive political network, while Porter has gained attention through her high-profile confrontations against corporate interests. Lee, supported by the influential Congressional Black Caucus, is committed to ensuring that a Black woman secures the Senate seat.

Butler’s initial entry into the race could have divided support among the candidates, but her withdrawal now clarifies the landscape.

Laphonza Butler’s career includes her role as a labor organizer, her leadership in the statewide operation of the Service Employees International Union, and her work as a political strategist for candidates and corporations. Her connection to prominent California politicians, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Governor Newsom, made her a compelling choice for Newsom’s Senate appointment.

While Butler has opted out of the 2024 Senate race, there is already speculation about her potential candidacy for governor in 2026. She emphasized her commitment to serving Californians in her statement, stating, “I now have 383 days to serve the people of California with every ounce of energy and effort that I have.”

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