Pelosi Endorses Schiff Senate Run If Feinstein Bows Out

(Bloomberg) -- Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would endorse Representative Adam Schiff’s bid for a coveted Senate seat from California if Senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, does not run again in 2024.

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“If she decides not to run, I will be supporting House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, who knows well the nexus between a strong Democracy and a strong economy,” Pelosi said in a statement released by Schiff’s campaign. Schiff served as committee chair but was replaced by Republican Mike Turner this year after the GOP took House control.

Pelosi is the most powerful Democrat in California’s congressional delegation and her early endorsement could influence what is expected to be a crowded, expensive primary. Because of California’s unusual primary process and heavily Democratic population, the top two Democrats are likely to face off in the general election.

Shortly after Pelosi’s endorsement was announced, more than a dozen other California Democrats offered theirs including Representatives Jim Costa, Anna Eshoo, Ted Lieu and Eric Swalwell. Former California Representatives Howard Berman, Susan Davis and Henry Waxman also signed on.

The move was a show of force for Schiff, who is already going to face off against Representative Katie Porter, a media favorite. And Representative Barbara Lee has informed the Congressional Black Caucus of her plans to run but hasn’t announced publicly.

Representative Ro Khanna has also expressed an interest in the seat, but told Bloomberg News he wants to see whether Lee, a fellow progressive, runs.

Feinstein, is the Senate’s longest-serving Democrat and its oldest member. Her health has been an issue on Capitol Hill and in California after the San Francisco Chronicle reported last year that some colleagues were expressing concern about memory lapses and her ability to perform duties.

Feinstein recently told Bloomberg News she wouldn’t make an announcement on her plans until the spring. She has not been raising money, either, or otherwise preparing in any clear way for a run.

(Adds additional endorsements from fourth paragraph)

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