Katie Porter announces Senate bid in California

The progressive House Democrat is launching a campaign ahead of a decision by 89-year-old incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who has not said whether she will seek reelection.

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., holding a pencil, speaks during a hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif. (Andrew Harnik/Pool via Reuters)

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., announced on Tuesday that she is running for the U.S. Senate in 2024 in what could become a bid to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., an 89-year-old, five-term incumbent who has not said whether she will seek reelection.

“We’re living through a time of extraordinary change,” Porter said in a video announcing her campaign. “Change can be electrifying and exhilarating. But change can also be disruptive, like the constant assault on our democracy and the dangerous imbalance in our economy. The threat from so-called leaders like Mitch McConnell has too often made the United States Senate the place where rights get revoked, special interests get rewarded and our democracy gets rigged.

“Especially in times like these, California needs a warrior in Washington,” Porter continued. “And that’s exactly why I’m announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate in 2024.

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“I don’t do Congress the way others often do,” she added. “I use whatever power I have to speak hard truths to the powers that be. To not just challenge the status quo, but call it out, name names and demand justice. That goes for taking on Wall Street and the big banks, Big Oil and Big Pharma.”

Porter, who was elected to her third term in the House representing a district that includes Orange County, has solidified her reputation as one of the lower chamber’s leading progressives. She turned 49 on Jan. 3.

“It’s time for new leadership in the U.S. Senate,” she said at the end of her video announcement.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wearing black, smiles as she arrives for a vote at the Capitol.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Feinstein has served in the Senate since 1992. Her advanced age and reported memory lapses have led to speculation that she could retire at the end of her current term, if not before.

Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that colleagues were worried that she is unfit to serve, citing conversations during which they had to reintroduce themselves to her “multiple times” during a policy discussion “that lasted several hours.”

Feinstein subsequently defended her job performance and said she had no plans to step down.

Other potential candidates who could challenge Porter for an open Senate seat in California include Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff and Ro Khanna, who said Tuesday that now is not the right time for him to announce a decision on his future plans.

“Right now California is facing severe storms and floods, and my district is facing historic weather conditions," Khanna said. "In the next few months, I will make a decision.”