Gavin Newsom is done with California – Orange County Register

The level of behind-the-scenes resentment among California Democrats toward Governor Gavin Newsom following his appointment of U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler to fill the vacancy of late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, has to be off-the-charts.

Prior to Feinstein’s death, Newsom promised the candidates currently running for Senate that he would make an “interim appointment” to replace Feinstein, if necessary.

If Feinstein were to pass, Newsom was – quite literally – just looking for a warm body. (That’s macabre-funny. I guess italicizing warm would be too ghoulish.)

In an interview with Chuck Todd for NBC News’ “Meet the Press”, Newsom said, “Yes. Interim appointment. I don’t want to get involved in the primary…It would be completely unfair to the Democrats that have worked their tail off. That primary is just a matter of months away. I don’t want to tip the balance of that.”

However, Newsom was quick to go back on his word and no sooner would make it clear that Butler would not be a mere placeholder, and was free to run for a full term.

So far, Butler hasn’t made up her mind, telling the LA Times, “I have no idea. I genuinely don’t know,” adding that she is focused on “honoring the legacy of Sen. Feinstein.  I want to carry her baton with the honor that it deserves and so I genuinely have no idea.”

Butler must decide by the December 8 filing deadline, giving her roughly two months to figure out whether to jump in the race.

If she goes for a 6-year term, she will have all of the power that comes with incumbency, including – presumably – the support of the Senate Democratic Caucus.  Plus, given her background as the head of EMILY’s list, a group that raises money to elect pro-choice Democratic women, and her work as a union boss, she has a vast network of people and organizations from which to draw support.

If you are one of the three Democratic members of Congress currently running for the seat: Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), it would be impossible not to look at this as anything other than Newsom putting his thumb on the scale.  As everyone knows, it is much easier to win an open seat than to defeat an incumbent of the same political party…and that fact is not lost on them.

The one most upset, I’m guessing, is Schiff.

Adam Schiff claims that he has in his possession conclusive, irrefutable proof that he should be a Senator.

Maybe he’ll even show it to us.

There is also a whole cadre of Democratic elected officials in California whose careers will be cut short by voter-imposed term limits, including members of the state legislature, statewide constitutional officers and big city mayors, among others.  It’s very rare that a plum position in California politics not impacted by term limits opens up.

Had Newsom appointed one of those Democrats to the position, there likely would have been a game of musical chairs that would have resulted in open slots up and down the political food chain.

However, instead of taking care of his home state Democrats, Newsom chose to nominate a Maryland resident who has never been elected to public office before…and at the time of the appointment wasn’t even registered to vote in California.

In fact, the only proof of California residency Butler had was some avocado toast and a yoga mat.

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