WASHINGTON — Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., a progressive star who won re-election in November, announced her 2024 Senate campaign Tuesday.
in a video announcing your offerPorter said he is running because California “needs a warrior in Washington” to take on powerful banking, oil and pharmaceutical interests.
Porter’s announcement comes amid uncertainty over whether Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who at 89 is the longest-serving senator, will retire at the end of 2024.
Porter did not refer to Feinstein in his video announcement, but said that “it is time for new leadership in the United States Senate.” By running now, 22 months before the election, Porter is beating out some well-funded potential challengers, including Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Ro Khanna.
Feinstein, who has increasingly relied on staff as she has aged, is expected to retire after her current term, but she has remained mum about her plans, saying she would not leave early. A Feinstein spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times last month that he “has no plans to step down and will announce his plans for 2024 at the appropriate time.”
Feinstein was less than $10,000 in the bank in late September, according to her most recent campaign finance report, a paltry sum for a senior senator in the most expensive state in the country to campaign for. Senators typically use much of their six-year terms to quietly amass a war chest ahead of their next reelection, so a lack of fundraising may suggest they have no intention of running for reelection.
“Of course, everyone is welcome to jump in, and I will make an announcement about my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time,” Feinstein said in a statement responding to Porter’s announcement. “Right now, I’m focused on making sure California has all the resources it needs to weather the devastating storms that hit the state, killing more than a dozen people.”
Feinstein’s potential retirement is expected to spark a madcap race for the seat among members of the California Democratic caucus. Would-be progressive rivals appeared to criticize Porter for launching his offer during the deadly storms that swept through the Golden State.
A source close to Schiff, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a close ally of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called it an “incredible mistake” that Porter launched his candidacy amid historic storms that have claimed the lives of more than a dozen. of people. it destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced thousands of Californians.
“We’re not going to announce in the middle of a natural disaster and we’re surprised others do,” the source said. “We are not playing politics in the middle of a natural disaster that has left people dead.”
Schiff has signaled for months that he will run for the Senate. He dropped out of a House leadership race and met with Feinstein in December to personally inform him of his intentions to run for his seat, the source said.
Khanna, one of Bernie Sanders’ top allies, told NBC News following Porter’s announcement that he will make a decision on the Senate race in the coming months, but will focus on heavy rains and flooding in the state that they have become deadly.
“Right now, California is facing severe storms and flooding, and my district is facing historic weather conditions,” Khanna said. “My focus is on that. In the next few months, I will make a decision.”
Porter won re-election to a third term in November against a challenge from former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh, a Republican. His race for the 47th Congressional District seat in coastal Orange County was listed as “dumped” by Cook’s nonpartisan political report.
Porter proved to be a strong fundraiser for her campaign in the 2022 midterm election cycle, raising nearly $26 million compared to Baugh, who raised about $3 million, according to Federal Election Commission documents.
A Baugh aide told NBC News Tuesday that the Republican nominee will run again for the Orange County district in 2024, adding that a formal announcement would be made soon.
“He’s been answering calls for encouragement all morning,” the adviser said.
Porter, 49, has drawn attention for viral videos showing his sharp questioning of witnesses testifying before Congress. The former law school professor is often seen with a dry-erase board that she uses to list digestible facts and figures to make her point.
“I don’t run Congress the way others often do, I use whatever power I have to speak hard truths to the powers that be, not just to challenge the status quo, but to denounce it, name names, and demand justice.” Porter said in her video announcement of her, which showed a clip of her using a whiteboard during a congressional hearing.
Porter began her first term in Congress in 2019 and serves as the vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
CORRECTION: (January 10, 2023 4:35 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misrepresented Porter’s age. He is 49, not 48.