California Rep. Barbara Lee (D) is wishing good luck to EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler on her appointment to fill the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) seat but stressing her own commitment to winning the office in 2024.
“I wish @LaphonzaB well and look forward to working closely with her to deliver for the Golden State,” Lee wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I am singularly focused on winning my campaign for Senate. CA deserves an experienced Senator who will deliver on progressive priorities. That’s exactly what I’m running to do,” Lee continued.
Lee launched her campaign earlier this year to replace Feinstein, who had previously announced she would retire after this term. Lee is one of a handful of high-profile Democrats in the closely watched Senate race, alongside fellow California Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter.
Before California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced his decision to name Butler, he had pledged to name a Black woman to fill Feinstein’s spot should her seat ever become vacant in the middle of a term. In naming Butler, he fulfilled his promise.
But Newsom had also pledged not to name a candidate already in the race, as to avoid influencing the outcome, to which Lee had objected.
“I am troubled by the governor’s remarks,” Lee, who is Black, said in a statement last month. “The idea that a Black woman should be appointed only as a caretaker to simply check a box is insulting to countless Black women across this country who have carried the Democratic Party to victory election after election.”
A spokesperson for Schiff’s campaign referred The Hill to a post from his official House account, wherein he congratulated Butler and praised Newsom for moving quickly.
“With the passing of Senator Feinstein — a giant of the Senate and a trailblazer — I’m glad the Governor acted quickly. I want to offer my congratulations to Laphonza Butler on her appointment. I look forward to working closely with her to get things done for California,” Schiff said.
Porter, through a campaign spokesperson, praised the appointment of California’s first lesbian senator as a victory for the LGBTQ+ community.
“As a labor leader, Laphonza Butler has spent her career standing up for women and working families. She will be the third Black woman to serve in the Senate and will also be California’s first lesbian Senator at a time when LGBTQ+ Americans are increasingly under attack. I look forward to fighting for California with her.”
—Updated at 1:41 p.m.