Newly appointed Sen. Laphonza Butler will not run for Dianne Feinstein’s seat next year

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Senator Laphonza Butler attends a pep rally to celebrate the second year of the Roybal Film and Television Production School on October 13, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Entertainment Industry Foundation)

LOS ANGELES — Newly appointed California Democratic Sen. Laphonza Butler announced on Thursday that she will not be running for a full term in 2024, according to The Associated Press.

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Butler was named earlier this month by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to complete the remainder of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s term, the AP reported. Feinstein died on Sept. 28 at the age of 90.

“I’ve spent the past 16 days pursuing my clarity – what kind of life I want to have, what kind of service I want to offer and what kind of voice I want to bring forward,” Butler said in a statement obtained by CNN.

“I believe leaders should have real clarity about why they’re in office and what they want to do with the power they hold,” Butler said, according to the New York Times, stating that she did not feel ready to run for a full term just yet.

“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,” Butler said, according to the AP. “It may not be the decision people expected but it’s the right one for me.”

Democratic Representatives Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee are expected to run in the race. Former first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, Steve Garvey, is expected to run as a Republican, the newspaper reported.

Butler, 44, has spent nearly 20 years at the Service Employees International Union, according to the Times. She also helped get the minimum wage raised to $15 in California.

Before Butler took the Senate seat, she ran Emily’s List which according to the TImes is an organization that helps Democratic women who are in favor of abortion rights to get elected across the United States.

Butler also worked at a political consulting firm where she advised Uber, Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris, according to the newspaper. She later got involved with Airbnb’s political advocacy.