On January 10th, Representative Katie Porter (D-Orange County) announced a 2024 run for U.S. Senate that Dianne Feinstein currently holds. Though many pundits guessed that she would run, some were surprised by the timing, as incumbent Senator Feinstein has not yet decided whether she will seek re-election. Both Feinstein and another potential opponent for Porter, Rep. Adam Shiff (D-Los Angeles County), have put out statements saying that they were more focused on dealing with the devastating January rain storms and flooding than on the Senate race next year. As one of the most donated to House Democrats in the country, Porter enters the race with high name recognition. She recently won reelection to a swing Congressional district in Southern Orange County.
Other contenders for the Senate seat include Representative Barbara Lee (D-Alameda County), who has told her congressional colleagues that she plans to run. Representative Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara County) has also expressed interest in running, though he firmly stated that he will not run if Lee decides to. Statewide officials like Governor Gavin Newsom appear unlikely to jump into the race.
Senator Feinstein has been California’s Senior Senator for 30 years, starting her career as mayor of San Francisco. Alongside Senator Barbara Boxer and President Bill Clinton, Feinstein flipped the state blue in 1992 after many years of Republican victories at the federal level. She won a close reelection in the 1994 “Republican Revolution” but steamrolled every Republican opponent she’s faced since then. In 2018, she won reelection against a fellow Democrat, former State Senate President Kevin de Leon (deLeon was recorded last year making racist remarks). Senator Feinstein was widely expected to retire this year, which explains the quick announcement from Porter.
With California’s “Jungle Primary,” all candidates regardless of party run in the same primary, and the top 2 candidates face off in the general election. With no significant Republican candidates expected to jump in the race, it’s highly likely another “Dem vs Dem” general election awaits voters next November.