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The 2024 California U.S. Senate Race: Where It Currently Stands

Schiff takes huge lead in fundraising as race candidates begin to solidify

By Evan Symon, April 7, 2023 2:30 am

Since the last report by the Globe in March, the 2024 race for U.S. Senate for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat has continued to evolve, with more candidates looking for a possible run, others confirming they’re out, and some making plays to garner more attention early on. With the lines still blurred for many, the Globe takes another look at where the race currently stands in early-April 2023.

Who is in?

A few minor candidates have entered the race in the last several weeks, such as perennial candidate Raji Rab for the Democrats and Roxanne Lawler for the Republicans.

However, as far as major candidates go, it is still the big three: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA),  Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) and Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA).

No major Republicans or other parties have yet to come in.

Who may be in?

Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA), Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, and Governor Gavin Newsom have all yet to officially rule out a run, although the likelihood of them running are getting less and less each passing day.

However, the list of major Republican candidates is growing. While several have filed to run, such as Healthcare Executive James Bradley, 2016 Oakland Mayoral candidate Peter Liu and lawyer Barack Mandela, those who have held office or were a major candidate in an election are shoring up as possible Senate candidates. This includes former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, 2021 Governor candidate Larry Elder, and State Senator and 2022 Governor Candidate Brian Dahle (R-Bieber).

A run by a known celebrity or other prominent lawmaker who hasn’t been considered yet is also possible, as is a third-party candidate or independent candidate.

Who is out?

The biggest candidate to announce that they weren’t entering in the last several weeks has been Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA). Once considered the candidate to replace Feinstein, he ultimately didn’t jump in at the right time, and when he finally started looking into a major run, three candidates had already gotten started in front of him. A lot of far left supporters, his bread and butter, already backed other candidates.

He dropped out late last month and endorsed Barbara Lee.

Who is backing who?

Endorsements have fallen into a pattern where a lot of state officials and unions back Lee, whereas a lot of lawmakers have backed Schiff. Schiff has gotten dozens of State Senators and Assemblymembers to support him, as well as Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and over a dozen members of Congress. Lee has gotten Breed, Schaaf, Khanna, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, a few out of state lawmakers, and United Farm Workers (UFW) co-founder Dolores Huerta. And, despite her claiming that her run will have no gimmicks involved, numerous actors have come out in support of her, including Danny Glover and Jamie Foxx.

Meanwhile, Katie Porter has not really gained many major endorsements, with many top Republicans in California holding out endorsements for when a major GOP candidate enters the race.

The big thing has been money, with Schiff leading the pack once again in fundraising during the first quarter For the first three months of 2023, Schiff brought in $6.5 million, bringing in a total of nearly $25 million for his war chest. At the same time, Porter only made $4.5 million in fundraising dollars, with Lee only bringing in $1.5 million.

What is coming up next?

Things are expected to solidify in the coming months, with a major GOP candidate being anticipated. In addition, new polls are expected, as are new fundraising results due by early July.

There are some possible surprise candidates who may be jumping in too, but for right now, it is a hunt for endorsements and fundraising in preparation for when the race really begins in the Primary next year. If a Republican does enter, Schiff, Lee, and Porter will likely need to rethink their strategy, as they are right now banking on a two-Democrat race in fall 2024.

This is going to be a fun Spring.

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Evan Symon
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One thought on “The 2024 California U.S. Senate Race: Where It Currently Stands

  1. Is a Republican going to run at all or has the CAGOP given up on California? If CAGOP isn’t running anyone, why support CAGOP? A Republican candidate with good policies, communication skills and charisma should be out there now.
    Three democrats out hitting the campaign trail (none of them are any good) and no GOP candidate. This seat is winnable for a Republican.
    No Republican candidate yet, this is pathetic.
    Republicans are already behind.
    Time is a wasting.

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