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Early 2024 Senate, House Candidates, Endorsements Flood California 22 Months Ahead of 2024 Election

Deluge of early candidates sparked by issue of if Senator Dianne Feinstein will run in 2024

By Evan Symon, January 12, 2023 6:12 pm

All this week, a frenzy over the 2024 Senate election in California has led to a spark of early announcements from candidates. On Tuesday, it was kicked off by Orange County Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) announcing her intention to run for the seat, currently held by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), entered the next day while Porter received her first major endorsement – one from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). And today, with Porter’s OC seat now seemingly open, former Congressman Harley Rouda threw his hat in the ring for that seat, along with Republican Scott Baugh, who had nearly defeated Porter for her seat last year.

Meanwhile, this process is nowhere near complete a whopping 22 months out from election day 2024. Congressmen Ro Khanna and Adam Schiff (D-CA) are expected to have announcements soon on if they are running for the Senate, while current Senator Feinstein has filed paperwork to run again in 2024 at the age of 91, with an announcement on whether or not she will run again for sure is expected to be coming soon. Outside of the Senate race, Congressional races are also getting early heat. Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), who had lost to Congressman David Valadao (R-CA) last year, has already put in paperwork to try again next year. In the 12th District, currently led by Congresswoman Lee, many candidates are said to be likely to announce a run as soon as Lee gives a formal announcement.

And on top of all of that is speculation, with everyone from Governor Gavin Newsom to former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccera being interested in a Senate run.

Congressional seats are also full of speculation too, such as Nancy Pelosi’s 11th district seat being supposedly eyed by people like San Francisco Mayor London Breed and state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). In the 47th District, which already has Baugh pitted against Rouda, state Senator David Min (D-Irvine) is yet another candidate who could enter that race, potentially splitting the Democrats in the primary.

All of these early candidates entering, whether definite, likely, or speculative, have largely been a surprise to Californians, who don’t usually expect campaigns to begin until far later in the year at least. But with the seats being highly prized, especially an open Senate seat in a state where many Democrats are looking into running, the earlier the better seems to be something of a strategy to get out early.

The early runners

“If you start now, you can build on that momentum,” explained Los Angeles-based political advisor and campaign advisor Roger Armstrong to the Globe on Thursday. “Feinstein’s seat is very vulnerable. Not to a Republican. They’re focusing more on House races at the moment, like at Porter’s seat which they have a decent shot to win next year. But she’s vulnerable because of her age and questions about her health. She wins at age 91, barring her death, she would be in until age 97. To many, that’s crazy, as well as being unfair to younger candidates. Even if she runs, it isn’t guaranteed she’ll win this time around either.”

“That’s why Porter went in early. She decided to strike first and go all in on the seat in the hopes that her new blood will prevail if Feinstein runs, or if this forces Feinstein’s hand and she drops out. Of course, Porter probably won’t win her over for a n endorsement if it does happen, so she faces that as a repercussion. Politics aside, Feinstein is a respected U.S. Senator who came into a Mayorship under tragedy and has soundly defeated opponents for decades. Porter is best known for breaking out white boards and grinding things to a halt in the House. Look no farther than how she was portrayed in The Onion today to see what people across the nation see her as.”

“She’s also way far left. If another Democrat is more centrist and can appeal to some Republicans at the same time, or at least vote for them as ‘the lesser of two evils’, then Porter is doomed. Feinstein alone would be an uphill battle, as Kevin de Leon found out in 2018 when he tried to beat her.”

“Basically, everyone wants to get in now as soon as these seats are at least potentially open. Getting in early and setting up the needed infrastructure and funds to be on the ground running when the campaign starts in earnest is a big advantage, as is getting name recognition out there. But it’s a gamble too. All of it can be for naught if a big candidate comes in out of the blue or if someone rich and famous, like a celebrity, enters the fray. And we’re only going to see more of these soon too because of the other going in early.”

More candidates entering the Senate and other House races for 2024 are expected soon.

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Evan Symon
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2 thoughts on “Early 2024 Senate, House Candidates, Endorsements Flood California 22 Months Ahead of 2024 Election

  1. Mr. Symon notes that Nancy Pelosi’s 11th district seat is being supposedly eyed by Democrats like San Francisco Mayor London Breed and state Senator Scott Wiener? Those two slimy Democrats are the lowest of the low who have helped turn the once great city of San Francisco into a hellhole. God help us!

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