Burbank, California mayor Konstantine Anthony and Barbara Lee

Burbank, California mayor Konstantine Anthony stands with U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) at a rally where he announced his endorsement of her Senate campaign on December 12, 2023.

(Photo: @KonstantineinCA/Twitter)

Citing Schiff's Gaza Silence, California Mayor Switches Senate Endorsement to Lee

"It was very difficult for me to change my position," said Burbank Mayor Konstantine Anthony, "but I have watched moral clarity shine through in another candidate."

A refusal to join the growing international call for a cease-fire in Gaza proved a liability for at least one 2024 U.S. Senate candidate this week, as Rep. Adam Schiff lost the endorsement of Burbank, California's mayor over his "continued silence" regarding Israel's U.S.-backed slaughter of at least 18,787 Palestinians and counting.

Mayor Konstantine Anthony joined Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) at a rally on Tuesday, where he announced his support for the congresswoman in the race to fill the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein's seat.

"It was very difficult for me to change my position, to rescind my endorsement [of Schiff], but I have watched moral clarity shine through in another candidate," said Anthony. "I am proud to endorse Barbara Lee for the Senate to represent us in California."

Lee's campaign released a campaign video on Wednesday featuring Anthony's speech at the rally and centering the congresswoman's call for a cease-fire, which she first made in mid-October.

"The American people have been very clear," Lee told campaigners at the rally. "They do not support endless wars. They do not support the slaughter of civilians."

Schiff and Lee, along with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), are among the candidates running in the Democratic primary. California voters will go to the polls on March 5, 2024. An Emerson College Polling/Inside California Politics survey found last month that 16% of voters supported Schiff, while 13% backed Porter and 9% planned to vote for Lee.

Anthony originally endorsed Schiff in February, and called on the U.S. government to help broker a cease-fire in October. He publicly asked Schiff to join the call on October 31, but said he would give the congressman time to do so before rescinding his endorsement.

Schiff's campaign told The Washington Post on Monday that the congressman "supports Israel’s right to defend itself and supports humanitarian pauses to encourage the release of hostages and allow critical aid to reach civilians in Gaza."

The U.S. was joined by just nine other countries at the United Nations General Assembly in opposing a cease-fire in a vote on Tuesday. More than 150 countries backed the cease-fire resolution.

"To see that Barbara Lee is the only person in the Senate race who has called for a cease-fire, that to me is, it's clear who the real true progressive candidate is in this race, and it's not Adam Schiff and it's not Katie Porter," said Alissandra Valdez, a Burbank resident, in the video released by the Lee campaign. "It's Barbara Lee."

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