Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) said on Sunday if Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) chooses to retire before finishing her term, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) should keep his promise to choose a Black woman to take the longtime senator’s seat. It’s the latest subtle hint that House Democrats might know more about Feinstein’s political future than her office has made public.
“The Governor has made that commitment publicly to the people of California, and I think elected officials should keep their promises,” Porter said in an interview with NBC4.
“I think there’s a reality that we need more diversity of voices in our Congress, we need more people with different kinds of experiences and that means we do need more Black people in the Senate, we need more Black women in particular,” Porter continued.
Earlier last month, Porter launched her Senate campaign — before any official announcement from the 89-year-old senator about her plans.
Just a day later, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) told lawmakers she is running for Senate in a closed-door Congressional Black Caucus meeting. And weeks later, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced he will be running for the same seat, all cumulatively fueling speculation that Feinstein might soon step aside from the seat she’s held since 1992.
This all comes as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced last week she will support Schiff in his Senate bid if Feinstein decides to retire next year.
Feinstein — a trailblazer who has served in the Senate for 30-plus years — has faced concerns around her cognitive health in recent months, raising questions about whether she will seek reelection when her term is up next year.
“I will make an announcement concerning my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time,” Feinstein told reporters not long after Porter announced her bid.
Porter’s public reminder to Newsom about his past promise comes days after Feinstein reported raising less than $600 in the last fundraising period, raising new questions about her future.
Despite calling for a Black woman to replace Feinstein if she steps away before finishing her term, Porter also defended her own candidacy for the position in 2024.
“I have a track record for fighting for the very kinds of issues that make a difference in the lives of Black Americans and Black communities,” Porter said. “Black Americans do not get people helping them with issues like healthcare, with housing, with being cheated by scam artists, and those are some of the fights I’ve taken on.”