Fresh on the heels of her latest meme-worthy display at the Capitol — quietly reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck for the cameras while the Kevin McCarthy speaker-vote drama raged — Rep. Katie Porter says she is running for the Senate.
Katie Porter has made a name for herself quickly in California politics, thrice winning a seat as a Democrat in a deeply purple district in Orange County. And her ambition clearly extends to the Senate, knowing that Dianne Feinstein's seat is likely coming available at the end of next year — though her early retirement in the next 22 months would mean that this seat would be Gavin Newsom's to fill.
"California needs a warrior in the Senate—to stand up to special interests, fight the dangerous imbalance in our economy, and hold so-called leaders like Mitch McConnell accountable for rigging our democracy," Porter said in a statement.
As NBC News notes, Porter's early announcement gives her a jump on potential fundraising ahead of likely contenders and fellow reps Ro Khanna and Adam Schiff.
Senator Feinstein — who was the subject of several news features last year including an exposé of sorts by the San Francisco Chronicle detailing some alarming lapses of memory — has yet to confirm that she will retire after her current term expires. However, at age 89 — she'll turn 90 this June — and having achieved the distinction of being the longest-serving woman in Senate history, Feinstein can't conceivably be a viable candidate for a November 2024 election.
In a statement (almost certainly written by aides), Feinstein responded to Porter's announcement Tuesday saying, "Everyone is of course welcome to throw their hat in the ring, and I will make an announcement concerning my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time. Right now I’m focused on ensuring California has all the resources it needs to cope with the devastating storms slamming the state and leaving more than a dozen dead."
Porter has emerged as a vocal progressive force in Congress since her first election in 2018, notably grilling figures like Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in her former role on the House Financial Services Committee — she now serves only the Natural Resources and Oversight and Reform committees.
"I'm a single mom of three school-aged kids who drives a minivan and uses a whiteboard to break down the math behind corruption and greed," Porter says in a fundraising message that went out Tuesday morning. "I've spent my career — both before and after being elected to the House — taking on special interests and delivering for working people."
California needs a warrior in the Senate—to stand up to special interests, fight the dangerous imbalance in our economy, and hold so-called leaders like Mitch McConnell accountable for rigging our democracy.— Katie Porter (@katieporteroc) January 10, 2023
Today, I'm proud to announce my candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2024. pic.twitter.com/X1CSE8T12B
Before being elected to the House, Porter studied under Elizabeth Warren at Harvard Law School, and later became a law professor herself at the University of Iowa, University of Nevada, and UC Irvine law schools. And in 2012, then California Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed Porter to be the state's independent monitor of banks in a $25 billion mortgage case settlement.
The timing of Porter's announcement, though, on a morning when the state is grappling with widespread storm-related damages and general mayhem, is being seen as tacky by potential rivals like Schiff — and this was implied in Feinstein's statement as well.
A source close to Schiff tells NBC News, "We are not going to announce in the middle of a natural disaster, and are surprised that others would do so. We’re not playing politics in the middle of a natural disaster that has left people dead."
As the Washington Post notes, this Senate race, assuming Feinstein announces her intention to retire, is "likely to be a competitive and expensive one."
The PAC known as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is endorsed by Senator Warren, has already said that it would endorse Porter in the race.
In a statement to the Washington Post, PCCC co-founder Adam Green said, "On a gut level, Katie knows how to challenge power on behalf of families. We’ve been fighting alongside Katie from the very beginning as she’s taken on predatory banks, corporate executives, and big-money special interests."
Top image: Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) speaks to supporters, volunteers, and staff at an election night watch party at the Hilton Orange County Hotel on November 8, 2022 in Costa Mesa, California. Porter is running for re-election in California's 47th district against Republican challenger Scott Baugh. (Photo by Apu Gomes/Getty Images)