Katie Porter launches bid for Feinstein’s Senate seat

Politics

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) announced on Tuesday that she will run for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) Senate seat in 2024. 

Porter has previously acknowledged that she was considering a bid for what is expected to be an open Senate seat in deep-blue California. While Feinstein hasn’t yet announced her retirement, she is widely expected to do so in the coming months.

On Tuesday, however, Porter made clear that she’s not willing to wait for the 89-year-old Feinstein to make a formal decision. In a video announcing her campaign, Porter said that “it’s time for new leadership in the U.S. Senate.”

“California needs a warrior in Washington,” Porter said. “That’s exactly why I’m announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate in 2024.”

Porter is fresh off a tough reelection campaign that saw her defeat Republican Scott Baugh by little more than 3 percentage points. She also has a reputation as a prolific fundraiser. As of late November, her campaign had $7.7 million in the bank after raising more than $25 million throughout her 2022 reelection bid.

Of course, she’s not the only prominent California Democrat interested in Feinstein’s Senate seat. Rep. Adam Schiff has also said that he’s weighing a 2024 Senate bid. Two other members of California’s House delegation, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), are also seen as prospective contenders.

In a statement, Khanna said that he would make a decision about a Senate campaign “in the next few months.”

The Senate primary could grow particularly contentious; no Democrat is seen as the clear favorite to succeed Feinstein, who has served in the Senate for more than three decades. 

Still, Porter is likely to be among the best positioned. Within minutes of announcing her campaign, she scored an endorsement from Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), an influential liberal group.

“On a gut level, Katie knows how to challenge power on behalf of families,” Adam Green, the co-founder of the PCCC, said in a statement. “We’ve been fighting alongside Katie from the very beginning as she’s taken on predatory banks, corporate executives, and big-money special interests. Now voters are ready to send her – and her whiteboard – to the U.S. Senate.” 

Whoever emerges from the Democratic primary will head into the general as the heavy favorite for the seat. The last Republican to hold one of the state’s two Senate seats was former Sen. John Seymour (R-Calif.), whom Feinstein defeated in 1992.

In a statement, Feinstein said that she would “make an announcement concerning my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time,” adding that her top priority for the time being is handling the deadly storms slamming her home state.

“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,” she said.

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