Since the last report by the Globe earlier this month, the 2024 California U.S. Senate Race For Senator Dianne Feinstein’s seat has taken numerous turns, with more potential candidates inching towards running, and others saying they won’t. With the lines currently blurred for many, the Globe decided to take another look where the race currently stands in late February.
Who is in?
For Republicans, a major office-holding candidate has yet to jump in, with only Educator Denice Gary-Pandol coming in early as an official candidate. Two others have also filed to run: 2016 Oakland Mayoral candidate Peter Liu and lawyer Barack Mandela. No major third-party candidates have come in yet, although Green and Libertarian candidates are expected to file in the near future.
Who may be in?
The number of speculatory candidates has shrunk in the past several weeks, with many giving clarifying statements on their candidacy status. Last time, the Globe noted that the list included San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA), Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, and Governor Gavin Newsom.
Khanna remains the last likely candidate to join in the race, as he has continued to express interest in running, but has still yet to file any paperwork to do so. Conversely, both Breed and Schaaf declined to run following Lee’s entrance into the race, instead deciding to endorse her candidacy instead. Mitchell also refused a run for the Senate, although her reasoning was that she instead wanted to run again for LA County Supervisor. The other four potential candidates have still not said what they will do one way or the other.
As for Republicans, no others have expressed any interest in the meantime, although a run by a prominent Republican still isn’t out of the question. A run by a known celebrity or other prominent lawmaker who hasn’t been considered yet is also possible.
Who is out?
Besides Feinstein, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Breed, Schaaf, and Mitchell, not many other have voluntarily said that they wouldn’t be running next year out of the pool of possible candidates. However, it should also be noted that decisions are expected next month.
Who is backing who?
With it so early in the process along with Feinstein’s lingering decision, few endorsements have come out this month. Previously, we noted that Katie Porter received the endorsement of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), while Adam Schiff got the majority of the California Democratic House delegation, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Since then, Schiff has gotten dozens of State Senators and Assemblymembers to support him, as well as Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Lee entering the race also triggered many endorsements coming her way, including Breed, Schaaf, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, a few out of state lawmakers, and United Farm Workers (UFW) co-founder Dolores Huerta. Porter has not received any more since early February.
What is coming up next?
Final decisions by remaining potential candidates are likely to be coming in through March and April, including the anticipated decision by Khanna. The lack of a Latino or Central Californian candidate could influence others to come into the race, as could resultant issues from the current declared candidates. Should several Democratic candidates falter in the coming months, others, including Republicans, may come in to fill the gap and take advantage of the situation.
Endorsements will also likely only trickle in as they have been doing as many are waiting and seeing how things go since it is still early on in the race.
More polls are also likely to come out soon. A poll released earlier today found that Schiff is currently ahead in the race by a few percentage points over Porter, but the poll had been taken before Lee was an official candidate. Future polls with her as a known candidate will likely shift those numbers.
With so many changes having been made in the less than two weeks since the last Senate race update, the coming Spring is expected to change the the lay of the land even more as the makeup of the election continues to change.
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