Since the last report by the Globe in July, the 2024 race for U.S. Senate for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat has continued to move forward. More potential candidates have dropped out, others have yet to give a definite yes or no on running, and millions of dollars continues to be raised. With time still there for candidates to enter the race in time for the March primary, the Globe takes another look at where the race currently stands in August 2023, seven months away from the primary and 15 months away from the general.
Who is in?
No major candidate joined in during the past month. The Democrats still have 8 confirmed for the ballot, including Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA), Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and former Google executive and investor Lexi Reese. There’s still a few candidates up in the air, but by this point, with so many big names already in, another major Dem coming in seems unlikely.
The GOP, meanwhile, has seven candidates on the ballot, and like the Dems, no one major joining in the last month. Attorney and 2022 GOP candidate for Attorney General Eric Early is still the central Republican in the race, with Businessman and Coast Guard veteran James Bradley also giving recent strong poll showings.
No major third party candidates entered either. In fact, across the board, people saying they won’t run was pretty much the bulk of the major decisions by potential candidates in the past month. Oh hey, speaking of which…
Who may be in?
As the final declaration date draws closer, the names are thinning out on both sides. Pretty much every major Democrat who has been on the maybe list for months finally said that they would not be running, and no one new has come forward. There is still the potential of a surprise candidate, but with the Schiff/Porter/Lee quarrel going strong, it’s unlikely anyone will want to join in that mess.
The GOP, meanwhile, still has the big name of former Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres MVP Steve Garvey out there. However, he has only expressed interest and hasn’t even filed yet. Even more unlikely, yet still possible, is State Senator and 2022 Governor Candidate Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), who has yet to give a yes or no on running next year for the Senate.
Third party candidates are, as always, a wild card, but no big names ae on the horizon. This being California, a last minute celebrity or known lawmaker joining in is possible for any party. But right now, things seems to be solidifying for March.
Who is out?
A lot of long time rumored candidates officially said no in July. Governor Gavin Newsom was officially out in mid-July, although with many speculating that he may still give a push for the White House in the near future. Same went for Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
For the GOP, 2022 California State Controller Candidate Lanchee Chen finally gave word that they won’t run for the Senate. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer also eschewed a Senate run in favor of running for a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors instead.
Even more fun was in the world of third party candidates. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the former wrestler turned actor, declined to run too and some speculation slipped into the press.
Overall, July was a real solidifying month, with August promising to also be a ‘make or break it’ type of month with so many potential candidates still out there. Expect even more final calls on running for the Senate this month.
Who is backing who?
Schiff and Lee are still dominating endorsements, with each one holding the support of dozens of national, state, and local lawmakers, unions, and other major officials. Porter is still nowhere close to where the other two are, but to her credit, she is still leading in most polls despite this, and has even started to gain a few Assemblymembers in July.
GOP endorsements remain in a holding pattern, with many waiting on final candidates to make their moves.
Big name endorsements, such as backing from Governor Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden, have also not landed yet due to so many candidates currently being up in the primary.
What is coming up next?
A new PPIC poll came out in July showing where all the candidates currently are in terms of support. Porter retook the crown from Schiff, coming in first with 19% of voters wanting to vote for her if the election was held today. Schiff came in second with 16%, and Lee did unusually well, getting the bronze with 13%. Rounding out the top candidates with 5% or more were three GOP candidates – Early with 7%, Bradley with 6%, and Businesswoman Sarah Liew with 5%. Only 6% said “Don’t know”, marking a huge change from previous polls where that number was often 25% or higher of voters.
In terms of fundraising, Schiff absolutely dominated in the last quarter. According to the FEC, Schiff raised $8.3 million in Q2 2023. Coming in a distant second was Congresswoman Porter, who raised $3.1 million between April 1st and June 30th. In third was Reese with $1.3 million, albeit with around $300,000 of that coming from herself. Congresswoman Lee, meanwhile, only raised $1.1 million. The top Republican, Early, reported just over $200,000.
These two statistics point to where the race is heading into the dog days of summer. Schiff and Porter have a lot of money to burn in what is appearing to be a neck-to-neck race. Lee isn’t out either, and Early, if he consolidates GOP votes, could still manage to take advantage of the Democratic three-way split and get in the General. They are all going to be fighting these months, especially when it comes to fundraising and if another major candidate enters the arena.
More polls are due out this month, and those will paint an even more clear picture on where this race is heading.
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