Rep. Barbara Lee begins Senate marketing campaign for Feinstein’s seat

Rep. Barbara Lee, a longtime favourite of liberal Democrats, confirmed Tuesday that she is operating for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

“I think given the challenges that California faces, that our country faces, now is the time for someone like myself who has been a fighter and a champion for people who have no voice who really need a voice,” Lee stated in an interview after launching her marketing campaign with an internet video.

In her video and interview, she stated her background, corresponding to being a younger single mom on public help and a home violence survivor, had knowledgeable her strategy to laws.

“It connects with voters, with people who have these challenges each and every day,” she stated. “And it’s important to have representation from every background. My lived experience and the work I’ve done — trying to lift people out of poverty, addressing issues around reproductive justice, the climate crisis, public safety, and working to get the job done on behalf of people — is what the Senate needs at this point.”

The announcement by the veteran Oakland politician, 76, was not shocking; she advised the Congressional Black Caucus final month that she deliberate to run for the seat, and filed paperwork making a Senate fundraising committee final week.

Lee’s political activism dates again greater than half a century. She labored on the 1972 presidential marketing campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the primary Black congresswoman, and on Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale’s mayoral race in Oakland the next yr.

After serving within the California Legislature, Lee was elected to Congress in 1998. She gained notoriety as the only real member of Congress to vote towards giving President George W. Bush authorization to make use of navy drive after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults. More than twenty years later, the considerations she expressed then are echoed by politicians on each side of the aisle.

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Although unsuccessful in previous efforts to affix House Democratic management, Lee has led the congressional Black and progressive caucuses.

Lee will face challenges in what is anticipated to be a extremely aggressive race that already contains Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank and Katie Porter of Irvine, who’re among the many prime fundraisers in Congress. Lee has simply gained reelection due to her district’s overwhelming Democratic tilt.

“She hasn’t been great at fundraising, and part of the reason is she hasn’t really had to,” famous Kim Nalder, a political science professor at Sacramento State. “I don’t think that necessarily means she won’t be a better fundraiser for this race. Nevertheless, she starts at a disadvantage fundraising-wise, and this is a very expensive state to run in.”

To enhance Lee’s monetary backing, outstanding strategists final week launched the tremendous PAC She Speaks for Me, which might settle for limitless donations.

“The idea is to help level the playing field for someone who hasn’t had to raise huge amounts in the past for her races locally and doesn’t have the war chest that her opponents have,” stated Brian Brokaw, an advisor to the political motion committee.

Brokaw and Dan Newman, one other longtime Bay Area Democratic operative who’s main the surface effort, have intensive ties with donors centered on legal justice reform who could possibly be key to boosting Lee’s prospects, significantly towards Schiff, a former federal prosecutor who confronted criticism from reform teams in 2021 when he was being thought of as a possible appointee for legal professional basic.

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Brokaw has labored on a number of campaigns with Patricia Quillin, the spouse of billionaire Netflix chief Reed Hastings. Quillin, who shuns the highlight, spent hundreds of thousands to struggle a proposition that will have reclassified some misdemeanors as felonies, to assist a poll measure that will have reinstated affirmative motion in California, and to assist the election of George Gascón as Los Angeles County district legal professional in a race that was considered as a referendum on legislation enforcement reform.

Quinn Delaney, founder and board chair of a basis in Oakland centered on racial justice points, has additionally donated hundreds of thousands to campaigns that Brokaw and Newman had roles in, together with these to repeal California’s ban on affirmative motion, assist modifications to legal sentencing and assist Kamala Harris’ 2020 run for president.

A query, one which few talk about overtly, is Lee’s age and whether or not voters will substitute Feinstein, an octogenarian, with a septuagenarian.

Lee tried to stymie this argument by telling supporters she would serve just one time period, a gambit reported by the San Francisco Chronicle that puzzled many, together with her supporters. Lee has denied making such a pledge in interviews, and pushed again towards questions on her age in her three-minute marketing campaign announcement video, posted on-line early Tuesday morning.

“For those who say my time has passed, well, when does making change go out of style? I don’t quit. I don’t give up. Come on. That’s not in my DNA,” Lee stated. “Because when you stand on the side of justice, you don’t quit. If they don’t give you a seat at the table, you bring a folding chair for everyone.”

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Her backers say that ageist arguments are insulting given the congresswoman’s many years of service and the variety of seniors main the nation, notably President Biden, 80.

In current historical past, candidates from the San Francisco Bay Area have been rather more profitable than Southern Californians in being elected to California’s premiere statewide political posts, amongst them Vice President Kamala Harris — beforehand elected as state legal professional basic after which to the U.S. Senate — Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Gov. Jerry Brown, Feinstein and former Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The area’s dominance is partly pushed by its focus of liberal voters and its excessive voter turnout, despite the fact that it’s much less populous than Southern California, stated San Francisco Democratic advisor Eric Jaye. The state’s liberal voters will prioritize race and gender, and broadsides about Lee’s age would backfire, he stated.

“We’re in an era where representation is frequently the most important criterion as we choose leaders,” Jaye stated. “If you put together the votes from Northern California and African American votes statewide, and you add to that progressives who remember her vote on the Iraq war, she’s got a lane.”