Mar 26, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Ro Khanna passes on Senate run, endorses Barbara Lee

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said Sunday he is passing on a run for retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) seat and staying in the House.

Why it matters: It likely solidifies the field for the 2024 California Senate election, which is being fought between Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee.

Driving the news: Khanna, in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," said that after mulling a Senate bid, "despite a lot of enthusiasm from Bernie folks, the best place ... for me to serve as a progressive is the House of Representatives."

  • The Silicon Valley congressman said he is endorsing Lee, a fellow progressive from the San Francisco Bay Area, and co-chairing her campaign.
  • "We need a strong anti-war senator, and she will play that role," Khanna said, adding that he has "respect" for Porter and Schiff, but Lee's lone vote against authorizing the Afghanistan war makes her a "unique voice."
  • Khanna also said "representation matters," noting Lee would be the first Black woman senator since now-Vice President Kamala Harris left the upper chamber in 2020.

The state of play: Early polls of the race have shown Schiff, the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Porter, a high-profile progressive known for her use of a whiteboard to grill business executives and Trump administration officials, in the lead.

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