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California Rep. Katie Porter announced a 2024 Senate bid on Tuesday, launching her campaign for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat in what could be a bruising Democratic primary.
The 89-year-old Feinstein, a member of the Senate since 1992, has not yet made public her own plans for 2024, and her office did not respond to a request for comment on Porter’s announcement. However, many Democrats believe she is likely to retire rather than seek a sixth full term.
Porter, a former law professor who has proven to be a prolific fundraiser since first winning her Orange County-area House seat in 2018, survived a tough reelection bid in 2022, when the redistricting process placed her home in Irvine within a 47th District in which she had to newly introduce herself to about two-thirds of voters.
Porter, who studied under future Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Harvard Law School, is best known nationally for her sharp questioning in House oversight committee hearings. She is also a leading progressive, serving as deputy chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“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,” Porter said Tuesday in a tweet accompanied by a video announcing her candidacy.
If Feinstein were to retire, it would likely set off a crowded scramble for the high-profile Senate seat in the country’s most populous state.
Other potential contenders could include Rep. Adam Schiff, Lt. Gov Eleni Kounalakis, Attorney General Rob Bonta and US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, a former longtime member of Congress.
Schiff, who views the senator as a mentor, went to see Feinstein in December to tell her that he was thinking about running, in what a source familiar with the meeting said was intended to show her due respect.
Feinstein has filed 2024 reelection paperwork with the FEC, but has faced criticism recently about her fitness for the job. She rejected those suggestions, telling CNN last year that she feels “absolutely” able to serve fully in her position, adding: “I think that’s pretty obvious.”
This story has been updated with additional reporting.