Proof of why either term or age limits, perhaps both, are needed came to us last week with the death of longtime California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Naturally, this leaves the Golden State scrambling for a replacement for the seat.
But Governor Gavin Newsom’s pick is already quite problematic.
True to his word for once, Newsom has decided to temporarily appoint a black woman to the seat. Enter Laphonza Butler. She is also not one of the top three contenders for the seat’s general election of 2024, just as Newsom promised.
Additionally, and unsurprisingly, Butler is also quite liberal, having been the president of the pro-abortion political action committee Emily’s List.
The only problem is that she’s not a Californian…
According to multiple sources, Butler is a resident of Maryland, Silver Spring, to be exact, which is a suburb of Washington.
Up until just a few days ago, when Newsom appointed her, her bios on social media and the Emily’s List website stated that she “grew up in Magnolia, MS, and attended one of the country’s premier HBCUs, Jackson State University. She lives in Maryland with her partner Neneki Lee and their daughter Nylah.”
Suddenly, that last line about living in Maryland has gone missing from her online presence.
It appears EMILY’s list has removed the final line in Laphonza Butler’s bio that states she lives in Maryland. pic.twitter.com/6wYYYJEqoE
— Ashley Zavala (@ZavalaA) October 2, 2023
Oh hey, look who remembered to remove the Location data from her bio overnight! It’s California’s newest Senator! pic.twitter.com/x90OxXoSd6
— Enguerrand VII de Coucy (@ingelramdecoucy) October 2, 2023
Additionally, a Federal Election Commission filing dated August 31 lists a Silver Spring, Maryland address.
Fox News reported that Butler moved to Maryland in 2021 when she became Emily’s List’s president. However, according to the outlet, she does own a house and property in California.
But she’s still not a resident. As Fox says, she must at least register to vote in California before she is sworn into office.
Of course, the issue isn’t that simple – at least to most people.
California GOP Representative Darrell Issa, for one, says it’s not a matter of how well she checks all the boxes or even how many like her. Instead, “we’re talking about 38 million Californians who have an absolute right to have somebody who puts California first – not who puts the District of Columbia first or Maryland, where she’s a resident, first.
Besides, Issa points out that it’s not like Newsom couldn’t have found someone that fit the bill in their own state.
“Instead, he chose the most progressive African-American woman he could find, seemingly for political purposes.”
And that’s precisely the problem liberal black women like California Representative Barbara Lee have with the appointment.
As she said when Newsom first promised to choose a black woman and one that was not already a contender for the seat, such as Lee herself, it’s “insulting.” She is deeply troubled that “countless black women across this country who have carried the Democratic Party to victory election after election” might be chosen “simply to check a box.”
Indeed, it is insulting.
And I can’t imagine Lee being any happier about Newsom’s pick when she discovered she’s not even a Californian.
Hell, I bet most in the state aren’t, regardless of where their party or political loyalties lie.
Newsom, however, is not keeping his word on choosing someone who won’t want the job after Feinstein’s term is finished. It was one of the main reasons he said he wouldn’t pick an interim seat holder from those already in the running. Apparently, he didn’t want to “get involved in the primary” whatsoever.
And so, he said he would be uninterested in the position for the long run.
But Butler isn’t exactly that. For starters, she hasn’t denied that running come 2024 to keep the seat is possible. And neither has Newsom asked such of her.
As The New York Times reported, he said, “I have an incredible appointee and she’ll make a decision with no constraints, no expectations.”
Talk about a kick in the face to Lee