Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is backing fellow California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff in the 2024 race for Senate if Sen. Dianne Feinstein decides to step down.
“If Senator Feinstein decides to seek re-election, she has my whole-hearted support,” Pelosi told The San Francisco Chronicle in a statement on Thursday.
If Feinstein doesn’t run, Pelosi said she will support Schiff, “who knows well the nexus between a strong democracy and a strong economy. In his service in the House, he has focused on strengthening our democracy with justice and on building an economy that works for all.”
Feinstein, 89, has said she will reveal her plans by this spring. The oldest-sitting senator, who is also the longest-serving senator from California, is widely expected to announce her retirement after a long and storied career in public office.
Schiff, a former House Intelligence Committee chairman who gained national prominence trying the case for Donald Trump’s impeachment, told KQED last month that he made his Senate campaign announcement after talking to Feinstein. “I wouldn’t be doing this without her blessing,” he said.
“We’re in the fight of our lives for the future of our country,” Schiff said in a video announcing his candidacy. “Our democracy is under assault from MAGA extremists, who care only about gaining power and keeping it. And our economy is simply not working for millions of Americans, who are working harder than ever just to get by.”
Republicans have targeted Schiff, including by seeking to remove him from the Intelligence Committee in retaliation for Democrats’ decision to boot far-right GOP members off committees in the last Congress.
The race to replace Feinstein is expected to get crowded. Progressive Rep. Katie Porter was the first to announce her campaign last month, and several other House Democrats are considering running, including Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee.
Schiff has one big advantage, in addition to Pelosi’s endorsement: a massive $20 million war chest that will go a long way in California’s notoriously expensive ad market.
In California, the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.