Washington – Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California told fellow Congressional Black Caucus members Wednesday that she plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat from California next year, two people familiar with the meeting told CBS News.
Lee, 76, has represented Oakland, Berkeley and other parts of the Bay Area since 1998. She is one of the most liberal members of Congress and was the only lawmaker to vote against authorizing the use of force against Afghanistan in 2001.
Lee did not make an official announcement. His decision to share his intentions with his colleagues comes a day after Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat who represents parts of Orange County,to announce its plans for 2024.
Porter brushed off questions Tuesday about the timing of his announcement, givenin the Golden State.
“These storms are just one example of the urgency and reassurance that we have leaders who understand what our country is facing and what California is facing,” Porter told reporters.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has held the California seat since 1992 and has not yet indicated whether she plans to run for re-election. But the 89-year-old has been called on to stand down from fellow Democrats and other critics fearing she can no longer serve effectively. Earlier this year, she died as acting Senate President, a largely ceremonial role for the most senior member of the majority party that would have placed her in the presidential line of succession.
Feinstein spoke with Lee late last year, according to two people familiar with the conversation. A congressional aide confirms that Porter’s office also contacted the California senator at the time of her Tuesday announcement.
“Everyone is of course welcome to throw their hat in the ring, and I will make an announcement regarding my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time,” Feinstein said in a statement to CBS News. “Right now, my focus is making sure California has all the resources it needs to deal with the devastating storms that are hitting the state and claiming more than a dozen lives.”
Ellis Kim contributed reporting.
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