Rep. Katie Porter of California just can’t wait to declare that she’s running for the U.S. Senate in 2024. There have been rumors for months that Sen. Dianne Feinstein will retire when her term expires but so far no formal decision has come from her office. Porter decided to get in the race early anyway.
Feinstein has been in Congress since 1992. At the age of 89 now, she is the oldest serving senator. Progressives are ready for a change. They are irritated that Feinstein sometimes works with Republicans in the Senate and think she isn’t hardline enough for their liking. They also point to her alleged declining mental sharpness and possible health concerns.
Katie Porter barely won her re-election last cycle so a move to the Senate is probably pretty appealing. She would have to campaign less often, for example. She tweeted out her video announcement.
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
I see Democrats are still going with the assault on our democracy talking point. She likes to think of herself as a bold truth-teller.
Ms Porter is a former law school professor who studied under Senator Elizabeth Warren when Ms Warren was a professor at Harvard Law School. Like Ms Warren, she has made a name for herself in the House of Representatives for her aggressive questioning of business executives and Trump administration officials, often while using a whiteboard to break down statistics.
Those questionings have often gone viral on social media. Most recently, during the convoluted vote for speaker, Ms Porter was seen reading a book entitled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.
Classy. That’s what we need – an Elizabeth Warren protege taking Feinstein’s seat. (sarcasm) It looks like the longer she serves in the House, the less enthusiastic voters are about her.
She first won a seat in 2018 when she beat Republican Representative Mimi Walters in a district that encompasses the suburbs of Orange County. Ms Porter won the seat again in 2020 but underformed President Joe Biden’s victory in the district. She narrowly won re-election by 3.4 percentage points in November despite aggressive spending by Republicans to flip the seat.
Recently Porter has found herself the subject of some uncomfortable stories in the press. She got into a kerfuffle with a staffer over COVID policy in her congressional office. Allegedly, the staffer gave Porter COVID. Porter went off on her and ranted about having to find a caregiver for her three children while she recovered. The story alleges she fired her staffer over it. The staffer, a veteran whose time working for Porter was almost up, is now a consultant. Porter denies firing her, as she was a fellow and Porter couldn’t have fired her if she wanted to, she said. Apparently, Porter has a reputation for not treating her staff well.
She will have competition in the primary, though no one else has formally declared candidacy. Some well-known names like fellow California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Ro Khanna. California does not hold party-based primaries. Those two men released statements slamming Porter for announcing during a natural disaster in California. Not the time.
Reacting to Porter’s announcement, Khanna issued a terse statement saying that “right now California is facing severe storms and floods, and my district is facing historic weather conditions. My focus is on that. In the next few months, I will make a decision.” Citing a “person close to Schiff,” Los Angeles Times congressional reporter Nolan McCaskill described the mood in Schiff’s camp as similarly focusing on California’s ongoing weather crisis, with the source adding that the congressman is “not running for Senate in the middle of a natural disaster where people are dead.”
Senator Feinstein released a similar statement.
“Everyone is of course welcome to throw their hat in the ring, and I will make an announcement concerning my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time,” the senator said in a cryptic statement Tuesday.
She echoed Khanna’s barb about Porter’s timing, adding: “Right now I’m focused on ensuring California has all the resources it needs to cope with the devastating storms slamming the state and leaving more than a dozen dead.”
It may be an interesting race, given who may or may not run in the primary. Will Porter succeed against Lyin’ Adam Schiff, who has been stripped of committee assignments by Speaker McCarthy and Ro Khanna, who is a progressive but plays a moderate from time to time on Fox News Channel, assuming either jumps in the race? We’ll keep an eye on it.