Katie Porter launches Senate campaign for Feinstein’s seat

On Tuesday, Rep. Katie Porter launched her 2024 campaign to win Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat — even if the Democratic incumbent has not yet made public her widely anticipated plans to retire.

Porter (D.Calif.), stated in a tweet that she was announcing her candidacy, “California requires a warrior senator — to stand up against special interests, fight our dangerous imbalance in our economy and hold so-called leaders such as Mitch McConnell responsible for rigging democracy.”

POLITICO reported Friday that Porter was considering a campaign launch to win the seat. This would be before Feinstein announces that she will be retiring. Porter is now ahead of the other Democrats, including Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee, who could be in a race for the seat if it opens.

In a statement Tuesday, Feinstein stated that Porter’s announcement had prompted her to say that “everyone” is welcome to join the fray and that she will outline her 2024 plans “at the appropriate moment.”

California is currently facing devastating flooding, which has caused thousands to flee their homes and claimed the lives of at least 14 people. Feinstein stated that she is focusing on helping California cope with the devastation caused by the storms in California, which have left more than a dozen people dead.

POLITICO was informed Tuesday by Schiff and Lee that Porter’s announcement didn’t change their plans for launching their campaigns. Schiff previously stated that he would consider running for office if Feinstein does not run for another term. A source close to him said that he had spoken with Feinstein about the possibility of running.

POLITICO also heard from a source close to Schiff that Porter’s announcement of her candidacy Tuesday was “perplexing” given the relentless storms in California.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D.Calif.), another candidate for Feinstein’s 2024 seat, declined to comment on Porter’s announcement on Tuesday but told POLITICO that he would not make a decision about running “for a few more months.”

Khanna stated, “I’m so focused on flooding in my district” and the storms this week. “We just finished an election. “I’m not going to make any decisions for the next few months.”

Porter, who is a three-term congresswoman and is well placed to lead a strong Senate campaign. This progressive Democrat is a prolific fundraiser with $7.7million in her bank account as of 2022, and $25 million raised during the last cycle.

Despite Porter’s remarkable fundraising abilities and ability to appeal swing voters, it is likely that the race will be very competitive. This is especially true considering California’s primary system which could pit two Democrats against one another in the 2024 general elections.

The announcement of Porter quickly spread across California’s wider campaign landscape. Scott Baugh, an ex-Assemblymember and Republican, announced that he would run for the seat in 2024, after having unsuccessfully challenged Porter in 2022. Republican prospects of flipping the seat in Orange County could be boosted by the absence of an incumbent.

A representative stated that Josh Newman, Democratic State Senator from Ohio, does not plan to run for Porter’s seat. A representative of Democratic state Senator Dave Min, who was second to Porter in the 2018 primary, did not respond when asked.