Laphonza Butler says she won’t run to permanently fill Dianne Feinstein’s seat

Laphonza Butler, recently tapped by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to temporarily fill the late Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, announced she will not seek a full term.

“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 posted to X on Thursday. 

“After considering those questions I’ve decided not to run for Senate in the upcoming election. Knowing you can win a campaign doesn’t always mean you should run a campaign.”

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“It may not be the decision people expected but it’s the right one for me,” she continued. “California voters want leaders who think about them and the issues they care most about. I now have 383 days to serve the people of California with every ounce of energy and effort that I have.”

Butler opting out of the race — which currently has three top Democrats vying for the spot, Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee — means Newsom will avoid endorsing his pick over one of the three candidates who have spent the last year on the campaign trail.

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Newsom appointed Butler, the president of EMILY’s List — a Democratic political action committee dedicated to electing pro-abortion Democratic women to office — for the vacant interim Senate seat earlier this month after Feinstein died. She was 90 years old and the longest serving female senator. 

Butler’s appointment drew some criticism from Republican lawmakers after it was discovered her home address was listed in Silver Spring, Maryland. 

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Newsom’s office told Fox News Digital previously that Butler moved to the suburbs near Washington, D.C., when she became EMILY’s List president in 2021 and that she has a house in California. The governor’s office said Butler would re-register to vote in California before she was sworn in on Oct. 3.

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