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Democratic Rep. Katie Porter announces run for California Senate seat

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter (Calif.) announced on Tuesday that she would be running for California's U.S. Senate seat in 2024, calling herself "a warrior" who would "stand up to special interests, fight the dangerous imbalance in our economy, and hold so-called leaders like Mitch McConnell accountable for rigging our democracy."

Porter, a former law professor and rising star among progressives since she flipped her historically red Orange County congressional seat in 2018, hopes to replace current Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who at 89 is the oldest member of the chamber. Feinstein, long alleged to have bouts of age-related forgetfulness and confusion, has conspicuously not stated if she plans to retire at the end of her term, although she has been increasingly urged to do so after stepping down as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2020. In a brief statement responding to Porter's announcement, Feinstein said, "Everyone is of course welcome to throw their hat in the ring," adding that she will "make an announcement concerning my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time."

With a national profile bolstered by viral moments of her straightforward interrogations during House committee hearings, Porter has also shown herself to be a prolific party fundraiser who narrowly held her formerly Republican-stronghold seat in the 2022 midterms elections that saw the GOP regain control of the House. Though her announcement has ensured she is the first to make a move for Feinstein's seat in 2024, Porter is widely expected to be challenged by fellow California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Ro Khanna in a state that crucially does not hold party-based primaries. 

Reacting to Porter's announcement, Khanna issued a terse statement saying that "right now California is facing severe storms and floods, and my district is facing historic weather conditions. My focus is on that. In the next few months, I will make a decision." Citing a "person close to Schiff," Los Angeles Times congressional reporter Nolan McCaskill described the mood in Schiff's camp as similarly focusing on California's ongoing weather crisis, with the source adding that the congressman is "not running for Senate in the middle of a natural disaster where people are dead."