California Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler to fill the seat of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, elevating the head of a fundraising juggernaut that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, according to a person familiar with the decision.
Newsom is moving swiftly to name the next senator, two days after Feinstein’s death and just as a perilously split Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown. Senate Democrats are in need of every vote in the closely divided chamber.
The announcement was expected to come Monday, and an adviser to the governor, Anthony York, told POLITICO that Newsom is making his appointment without putting limitations or preconditions on his pick running for the seat in 2024. That means Butler could decide to join the sprawling and competitive field of Democratic contenders seeking to succeed Feinstein, with special elections now layered on top of the March primary and November runoff.
Butler is expected to be sworn-in to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday by Vice President Kamala Harris.
Newsom’s selection of Butler comes