As RedState reported Thursday, Laphonza Butler, whom California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed in early October to serve out the remainder of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Senate term, has confirmed that she has no plans to join the current field of 2024 Democratic challengers for the seat, saying that “I now have 383 days to serve the people of California with every ounce of energy and effort that I have.”
The announcement shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise to many people considering that Gov. Newsom had previously stated that his intention was to nominate someone who was not in the running for the seat next year and who would effectively be a placeholder until the election was held.
Sen. Butler’s statement brought forth reactions from some of the candidates including Rep. Barbara Lee, who rushed to the Twitter machine to shower praise on Butler for her “grace” and “integrity”:
Senator Butler took on the enormous responsibility of filling an open senate seat with grace, integrity, and a deep commitment to delivering for the people of California.
I look forward to continuing our work together for the remainder of her term.
While to the casual observer that may come across as a run-of-the-mill statement of support, it was quite the departure from Lee’s chilly “welcome” message to Butler after Newsom made her appointment official:
I wish @LaphonzaB well and look forward to working closely with her to deliver for the Golden State.— Barbara Lee (@BarbaraLeeForCA) October 2, 2023
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.
Even more to the point, Lee’s words of kindness toward Butler Thursday were miles away from what she had to say in response to Newsom’s remarks about three weeks prior to Feinstein passing away about how he would be appointing a black woman as a “caretaker” to the position.
Flashback to Lee’s blistering statement at the time:
“I am troubled by the Governor’s remarks. 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. There are currently no Black women serving in the Senate. Since 1789, there have only been two Black woman Senators, who have served a total of 10 years. The perspective of Black women in the U.S. Senate is sorely needed — and needed for more than a few months. Governor Newsom knows this, which is why he made the pledge in the first place. If the Governor intends to keep his promise and appoint a Black woman to the Senate, the people of California deserve the best possible person for that job. Not a token appointment. Black women deserve more than a participation trophy. We need a seat at the table.”
So in other words, Lee’s view at the time was that if Newsom appointed any other woman of color to that seat other than her – even if they were qualified – they would “not be the best person for the job” and would essentially be a token, per Lee.
Why her sudden change in tune now? Well, Lee knows she’s in trouble. Her campaign is not getting much traction (nor campaign donations) in contrast to Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter. So she is no doubt elated that Butler is not going to add her name to the list of people Lee would have to battle uphill against in 2024 for the seat.
Something else that Lee has going against her? The endorsement of Squad radical Cori Bush:
.@BarbaraLeeForCA laid the groundwork for an entire generation of progressive leadership to follow in her footsteps. @CoriBush understands that, and it's why she's endorsing Barbara Lee for the U.S. Senate in California. #BarbaraLeeSpeaksForMe pic.twitter.com/XJJl7kot5q— Our Revolution (@OurRevolution) October 5, 2023
Even though California is of course woker than woke, there’s been a growing trend there over the last couple of years to oust woke District Attorneys, so though Lee might be appreciative of Bush’s endorsement, it – like her temper tantrums over Newsom’s appointment powers and her flip flops – doesn’t appear to be helping her.