Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Butler Walks Away

In the 16 days since she was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) to replace the deceased Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-CA) has toyed with the possibility of trying to keep the job. This despite the fact that the race is already crowded, with two well-heeled and well-known contenders in Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter (both D-CA), as well as a less-well-heeled but still well-known Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

Butler would certainly have been an interesting candidate, but her main politically useful attributes are already covered by the other three: Schiff is a well-connected insider, Porter is an outspoken progressive, and Lee is a Black woman. And all three are better known and have a 3-to-6-month head start. It would seem the Senator took a look at the situation and decided there was no lane for her, and so she announced yesterday that while she will be honored to serve the people of California for the next year, she will not run to win the seat in her own right.

This is good news for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), who really doesn't want to have any involvement in next year's U.S. Senate race. He neither wants to alienate the person who wins the seat, nor does he want to aggravate the supporters of the people who fail to win the seat. Did he just make a savvy guess that Butler would not try to run for reelection? Or was this discussed before he made the pick? We find it hard to believe he would just roll the dice, but if Butler made a promise not to run, then we also don't know why she would flirt publicly with the notion of running for 2 weeks. Maybe one day we'll find out. In any case, she's walking away as soon as the results of the special election are certified around mid-November, 2024. Then the winner of the special election, most likely Porter or Schiff, will be sworn in about 6 weeks before the winner of the Michigan election and any other newbies. (Z)

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