“Sen. Butler took on the enormous responsibility of filling an open senate seat with grace, integrity, and a deep commitment to delivering for the people of California. I look forward to continuing our work together for the remainder of her term,” Lee said in a statement on Thursday.
Without the pressure of that competition, Aimee Allison — a vocal ally of Rep. Lee and founder of She the People, which helps elect women of color to office — hoped Butler would now turn her support to helping Lee.
“She has the opportunity to be — once again — a queenmaker, this time for the next Senator of California,” Allison said, in a statement. “We sincerely hope her next step is to join California leaders and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC in endorsing Barbara Lee. That way, she will keep the door wide open for Black women’s representation and the trusted progressive leadership only Barbara Lee can bring to the Senate.”
Butler’s previous consulting work at Bearstar Strategies complicated those union relationships, however. While much of the labor community was excited about Butler’s appointment, some, like UC Irvine professor and labor expert Veena Dubal, criticized Butler’s consulting for Uber in particular as it battled Assembly Bill 5, an effort to grant Uber drivers full employment status. Dubal told The New York Times this month that many in labor “were really angry and really felt like this was treachery.”
While Butler may not be running for the Senate, she has other options: Politico cited sources close to Newsom who said Butler would make a strong candidate for governor in 2026.
This story is developing and will be updated.