We’ve got a Democrat donnybrook shaping up over the 2024 race for Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, as East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee jumps into a race that will already likely include Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Ro Khanna.
Aging and possibly cognitively declining California Senator Dianne Feinstein has not even announced whether or not she will run for the seat again when her current term ends in 2024. But if the SFist comments section is any indication, she’s at an all-time low approval rating, and her recent performance has hardly been impressive. (She also has done zero fundraising, and she will be turning 90 this June, and would be 91 by the time the election rolls around.)
We now have media reports that at least three prominent Democrats have told Feinstein directly that they will seek her seat, regardless of whether the 89-year-old, six-term senator runs herself. On Tuesday, Orange County Representative Katie Porter came out and announced she was running for that Senate seat. Rep. Adam Schiff has reportedly already met with Feinstein and said as much (though he has not announced). And now on Wednesday, Politico reports that 25-year East Bay Representative Barbara Lee will also be running for the job.
Political insiders already consider it an article of faith that South Bay/Milpitas Rep. Ro Khanna will also run, and other candidates are likely to emerge in the coming months.
Rep. Lee has not publicly announced her candidacy. But according to Politico, “Rep. Barbara Lee has told her fellow lawmakers she’s running for Senate in California,” and the site adds that “She informed her colleagues in a closed-door Congressional Black Caucus meeting on Wednesday.”
The Chronicle reports that “Lee has had a phone conversation with Feinstein about her plans,” in contrast to Porter's public announcement and fundraising push on Tuesday. So it seems no one’s afraid of telling Feinstein they’re after her job, and it seems all but impossible that Feinstein will run again anyway.
But the Chron also reports on money — and how Barbara Lee doesn’t have much of it. “She has only $54,940 cash on hand, according to the most recent campaign finance filings,” according to the Chronicle. Compare that to Adam Schiff’s war chest to date ($21 million), Katie Porter’s ($7.7 million), and Ro Khanna’s ($5.4 million).
This race will be between the top two primary winners of the June 4, 2024 primary election, and will likely pit two Democrats against one another on November 5, 2024.
But a wrench could still be thrown in everyone's plans if, say, Feinstein is convinced to retire early and lets Newsom fill the seat with someone of his choosing.
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