Laphonza Butler won't run for Senate seat

Newly appointed Sen. Laphonza Butler has decided not to run in the 2024 Senate race.

The New York Times was the first to report that Butler had chosen not to seek a full-term in the Senate.

In an interview with the news outlet, Butler expressed that she intended to be "the loudest, proudest champion of California" in her remaining time in office, but that she had realized "this is not the greatest use of my voice."

The senator took to social media to provide more insight into her decision, acknowledging that it might come as a surprise.

"Knowing you can win a campaign doesn’t always mean you should run a campaign. I know this will be a surprise to many because traditionally we don’t see those who have power let it go," she wrote in part. "It may not be the decision people expected, but it's the right one for me."

Butler, who is Black, was appointed to the Senate by Gov. Gavin Newsom in early October, filling the seat left vacant by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Butler was sworn in on Oct 3 by Vice President Kamala Harris, who served as the second Black female senator until she resigned in 2021 to join President Joe Biden in the White House. The first was Democratic Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, who served one term in the 1990s.

Butler is a longtime fundraiser and strategist in the state’s Democratic circles and was the head of Emily’s List, a national organization that raises money for women candidates who support abortion rights.

Prior to her Senate appointment, she had not held public office.

The competitive race seat is already underway among three prominent House Democrats, Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee. Former baseball star Steve Garvey who is a Republican.