Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on December 8, 2021.

(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Barbara Lee Tells Colleagues She's Running for Senate

Lee, a former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the only federal lawmaker to vote against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, has long been a champion of egalitarian policies in California and beyond.

Progressive Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California told lawmakers Wednesday during a closed-door meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus that she intends to run for Senate, Politicoreported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

Lee's decision, which has yet to be communicated through an official campaign announcement, comes one day after fellow progressive Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) announced that she is running for the seat currently held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, an 89-year-old corporate Democrat.

Feinstein has indicated that she wants to serve the final two years of her current term but has yet to say whether she plans to seek another six-year stint in 2024. Regardless, the competition to succeed the oldest member of Congress, whose cognitive health has become a major concern, has been escalating for weeks.

Lee, a former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and the only federal lawmaker to vote against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, has long been a champion of egalitarian policies in California and beyond.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has publicly stated that he is exploring a Senate run, and progressive Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) is also considered to be a potential candidate in the race to succeed Feinstein.

Feinstein's seat is widely seen as safely Democratic for whichever candidate emerges from what is likely to be a crowded primary field, though some observers have warned of the possibility that CPC members Lee, Porter, and Khanna could split the progressive vote.

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