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Katie Porter at an election night watch party in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Nov.  8, 2022.
Katie Porter at an election night watch party in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Nov. 8, 2022.Apu Gomes / Getty Images

Porter gets jump on Feinstein, others with Senate bid

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has not yet announced whether she is running for re-election.

By , and

Even though 89-year-old California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein hasn't announced whether she'll run again this year, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter beat her to the punch by announcing a Senate bid of her own.

Porter, a well-funded lawmaker with a strong progressive following, had long been seen on the shortlist for a Senate bid in the Golden State. But the timing of her announcement was unusual, as would-be candidates usually wait until the incumbent announces their intentions.

Feinstein, who has held the seat for three decades, said last month she wouldn't step down early and that she would make her announcement "probably by spring."

But she did decline to serve as the Senate's president pro tempore, which typically goes to the most senior member of the majority party and is in the presidential line of succession.

In a statement Tuesday, Feinstein said: "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. 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.”

While Porter's video makes no explicit reference to Feinstein, her message that California needs a new direction is clear.

"Especially in times like these, California needs a warrior in Washington. That's exactly why I'm announcing my candidacy," she says.

Porter is one of the more prolific fundraisers in the House, and ended November with about $7.7 million left in her campaign account, which she can use to jumpstart her Senate bid.

Now that's she's officially in, eyes will turn to the other members of California's delegation and other top politicians in the state who will have to decide whether they want to jump in to counter Porter or give Feinstein space to make her own decision first.

It's not the first time a California Democrat has sought to get out in front of an incumbent in a Senate bid. In 1992, Democratic Rep. Barbara Boxer announced her Senate bid before the sitting senator, Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston, announced his own retirement.

"I think it's been a while since we've had any [excitement] in politics. Hasn't it?" Boxer said at the time, according to the Los Angeles Times.