If last week was the world premiere of California’s newest senator, this week is the start of the press junket.
Fresh off her swearing-in, Democrat Sen. Laphonza Butler has been making stops up and down the state, meeting with influential union and healthcare leaders and flexing her California credentials after spending two years out-of-state running Emily’s List in Washington.
Friday, Butler is expected to make her first public appearance with Gov. for a star-studded event in Los Angeles. They will join Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho as well as actors George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Eva Longoria, and Kerry Washington to celebrate the second year of the Roybal School of Film and Television Production Magnet — a program to drive diversity in the entertainment industry.
Butler’s Los Angeles roots run deep. It’s where she led the powerful SEIU Local 2015 union, and where she recently re-registered to vote when Newsom tapped her to replace the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Her presence at the Roybal School gives her a chance to rub elbows with some of the industry’s most influential players — who often boost Democratic political candidates with their star power and donations.
Butler is also touching base with two other pillars of Democratic politics in California: organized labor and abortion rights advocates.
In San Francisco on Wednesday, she met with members of both the California Teachers Association and SEIU 1021, which represents employees in local governments, nonprofit agencies, health care programs and schools.
On Thursday, she stopped by a Planned Parenthood health center in Northern California to sit down with key advocates, including the group’s statewide head Jodi Hicks.
“Breaking barriers in the Senate while being a champion for reproductive rights and we are thrilled!” the group said on Twitter.
At first glance the media blitz it may seem like the beginnings of a Senate campaign, though she has been silent on her plans. Butler has until Dec. 8 to decide if she wants to run for a full term next year. With primaries only five months away, the new senator would need to start campaigning very soon to have a chance at rivaling the name recognition and cash reserves of the three leading Democrats already in the race.
On that note — Rep. Katie Porter announced raising $3.4 million in the third quarter, bringing her cash on hand to $12 million — still far less than the $32 million cash on hand Rep. Adam Schiff reported at the end of the quarter. Rep. Barbara Lee has yet to announce her latest fundraising figures but reported $1.4 million cash on hand at the end of June..
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CLARIFICATION: A previous version did not provide the Porter campaign’s cash on hand for the third quarter.