For years, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has been rumored to be on the brink of a significant health crisis, possibly ready to step down as Senator or just not run for re-election in 2024.
Several key players have been making moves in the background, looking to jump into the 2024 race for Senate in California. POLITICO noted this back in late 2022, as speculation about Feinstein’s future ramped up again.
Reps. Ro Khanna and Katie Porter are fielding entreaties to jump into the race, and Rep. Adam Schiff has publicly declared he is exploring a run. Rep. Barbara Lee is spending the holidays mulling her next move. Three hopefuls have contacted former Sen. Barbara Boxer to seek her advice, marking the incipient stages of a fierce fight between California Democrats for a seat that has not been open for a generation.
Feinstein’s plans remain a wildcard. The 89-year-old senator’s standing has eroded as California Democrats sour on her centrism and the San Francisco Chronicle detailed her perceived cognitive decline in an explosive piece this spring that bolstered previous reporting by POLITICO about Feinstein’s capacity to serve.
While Rep. Adam Schiff has been one of the few to openly talk about exploring a run, he was beaten to the punch today by Rep. Katie Porter, who announced her bid in an attempt to get the ball rolling on what is very likely going to be a crowded field and an expensive race.
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.
Today, I'm proud to announce my candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2024. pic.twitter.com/X1CSE8T12B
— Katie Porter (@katieporteroc) January 10, 2023
Feinstein, who is still in the seat, hasn’t said one way or another if she’s running or not, but that doesn’t matter to Porter, who just won re-election to the House. She wants to make the move over to the Senate because it’s a safer seat. She won’t be challenged every two years.
Porter is skilled at raising money from small-dollar donors and is beloved by progressives. However, she isn’t without baggage. Just recently, it was discovered that she horribly mistreated a staffer who was a Wounded Warrior Fellow and apparently has a history of being abusive to staff, which includes accusations of racism. Is she the best California Democrats can do?
She will most likely face a challenge from her own party in Schiff, who will not be serving on any committees in the House, per Kevin McCarthy. But, progressives aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders are also encouraging Rep. Ro Khanna to run, as the far-left progressive wing of the party wants to begin exporting its House members to the Senate to back Sanders (who is also not in the spring of his youth) up.
The race for Senate in California will be an interesting one to watch.