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Katie Porter And Her Whiteboard Are Running For Senate!
Democratic Rep. Katie Porter is looking to become Sen. Katie Porter. The Orange County, California, congresswoman announced her campaign for Senate Monday. It was not a shock to most, although some questioned the timing. A major storm has pummeled California, which is experiencing severe flooding. Thousands of residents have had to evacuate their homes, and at least 17 people have died. The counter argument, however, is that a natural disaster is appropriate timing to launch a campaign. After all, Porter defines herself as someone who gets shit done. (I’m offering the counter argument to be nice.)
"California needs a warrior in Washington," Porter declares in her campaign video. "I don't do Congress the way others often do. I use whatever power I have to speak hard truths to the powers that be — not just challenge the status quo but call it out, name names, and demand justice."
Regardless of their actual ideology, candidates often sound strikingly similar in their campaign ads. Porter is fairly progressive but even most centrists, traditional liberals, and conservatives express the same sentiment: "Congress is broken. I'm not like the average politician, though, and I'll work for results that benefit everyone."
When sharing her launch video Tuesday, Porter tweeted, "California needs a warrior in the Senate – to 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."
It's almost quaint to see Democrats attacking McConnell as the bogeyman. It has a very 2013 energy. Now, weirdly enough, McConnell is probably the least objectionable Republican leader in Congress. He celebrated the bipartisan infrastructure deal with President Joe Biden while his House colleagues slipped in cow pies trying to elect a speaker. He's evil, but he's not a total nihilist, so likely wouldn't let the nation default on its debt. I get it, though: If you're a Democrat running for Senate, you have to hit McConnell. But God help us if MAGA gets it way and replaces him as leader with someone like Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, or Tom Cotton.
Democratic strategist Keith Edwards, who worked for Nikki Fried's successful Florida gubernatorial campaign, suggested it was "pretty disrespectful" for Porter to launch her campaign before Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced whether she was running for re-election in 2024. Feinstein is 90 this year, and while that's still quite young for your average baby Yoda, it strains credulity to think she'd serve another six-year term that ends in 2030. She's welcome to try, of course. It's a free country, but it's also not a monarchy. She'll have to defend the seat.
Porter reportedly reached out to Feinstein before making her announcement. She’s spoken with the senator’s staff and hopes to speak with her soon.
“I have deep respect for Sen. Feinstein and all that she does, and I think she will make her own decision in her own time. That’s up to her,” Porter told the Los Angeles Times. “She is a trailblazer and the path she created for women in California politics is one I am proud to follow.”
If Feinstein decides to run again, the narrative of the race could devolve into a tedious "left" vs. "center" squabble. (It's been noted already that Porter endorsed Nina Turner's congressional campaign.) However, if Feinstein doesn't run, maybe people can find more original ways to be silly.
California has what's called a "jungle primary" (I assume for non-racist reasons). Anyone can run regardless of party affiliation and the two top vote getters — almost always Democrats — advance to the general election. In 2018, that was Feinstein andscandal-plagued Los Angeles City Council Member Kevin de León. We're likely to see more serious — and less scuzzy — challengers in 2024. Rep. Adam Schiff, Ro Khanna, and Barbara Lee have been floated as possible candidates.
Porter is a tremendous fundraiser. She raked in $26 million to defend her seat, and according to an FEC filing in late November, she has $7.7 million in cash that she can transfer to a statewide campaign. She also raised more than $250,000 in just 90 minutes after launching her Senate campaign.
Porter might need to spend a good deal of that money on PR, considering the recent allegation that she fired staffer Sasha Georgiades, a Navy veteran, because she allegedly gave her COVID-19. (It's pretty hard to determine if a specific individual gave you COVID-19, unless you're living in 2020-era pod.) Porter has denied the accusations, but Georgiades had copies of some callous texts from Porter. Just come clean and apologize. Everyone's a jerk at some point. Let's hope she doesn't make staff serve as her personal Instacart shopper like a common Kyrsten Sinema.
Don't say I always end on a negative note, though. Here's some clips of Porter being charming.
[ LA Times ]
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