A number of important black Democrats are upset that California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) chose Laphonza Butler of Maryland over Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), who is currently running for the Senate seat that Dianne Feinstein left open.
Prior to being constitutionally qualified to succeed Feinstein, who passed away this week at the age of 90, Butler must be registered to vote in California, where she has resided and owned a property. However, Butler now resides in Maryland.
Feinstein declared earlier this year that she would be retiring, and Lee has been trying to replace her. After taking office, Butler could be allowed to seek the position as well, which would infuriate Lee’s supporters.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
The San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce’s board chairman, Fred Jordan, declared last week that “it is going to hurt him. They will be very angry with the women in the state of South Carolina who gave Joe Biden the bump.”
Jordan said Newsom “lied” when he chose Butler for the spot and that he “has not kept his promise” to choose a Black woman. He wanted Lee to be chosen by Newsom because he thought she was “the most qualified” individual he could have chosen. Later that month, Newsom said that picking Lee “would be totally unfair to the Democrats who have worked their tails off. This made him very angry. That primary is coming up soon, and I do not wish to change the odds of that.”
Watson, who is on the board of the Black Women’s Democratic Club of LA County and is deputy head of California Donor Table, praised Butler but “expressed her confusion” that Newsom didn’t select Lee. (Butler used to be on the advisory board for the donor group.)
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) are also strong candidates for the Senate. A number of Republicans are also running, but they don’t have much of a chance in the heavily Democratic state.