Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-12) is set to become the second prominent entrant into the Senate race to likely replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Lee said she did broach the issue of the Senate race with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), but did not go so far as to announce her intent to jump into the race. She said her top priority is addressing the floods in her district and across the state.
“I said there’s a time and a place that I’ll talk about this because I’m planning — but not now — to talk about it, that I’m concentrating on working with my district and with California on the devastating floods, and, with all respect to Sen. Feinstein, that there’s a time and a place to talk about it because I respect her and her decisions,” Lee said.
Lee said she has spoken directly with Feinstein but did not reveal the substance of the discussion.
“California deserves a Senator with a record of accomplishment and a progressive vision,” Lee said in a statement. “While the United States Senate is sorely lacking the presence of people of color, Black women in particular, today I am focused on helping Californians stay safe in this extreme weather and fighting the House Republicans extreme agenda.”
The comments come a day after Orange County progressive Democrat Rep. Katie Porter (CA-47) made her campaign for the seat official.
Lee would be the first from the Bay Area — Oakland — to announce their candidacy in the burgeoning battle to become Feinstein’s successor. Porter is based in Orange County, and Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28)), who is also widely expected to launch a campaign, is based in Los Angeles.
The maneuvers also come ahead of any official word from Feinstein, 89, who has said that she will decide whether to seek a sixth term in the spring, though she is widely expected to retire at the end of her term.