California Rep. Adam Schiff announced Thursday that he is throwing his hat in the ring for U.S. Senate, joining an already crowded field jockeying to represent the Golden State in 2024.
"I want to continue to the work I've done in the House to protect our democracy, to fight for an economy that works for everyone, and to save our planet," Schiff said in an interview with Spectrum News on Thursday after his announcement. "Those to me are the three existential issues we're facing, and California needs and deserves someone who will champion their values."
The news comes just days after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vowed to block Schiff from serving on the House Intelligence Committee; Schiff was the panel's Ranking Member from 2015-2019 before serving as its Chairman until Republicans retook the House earlier this month.
"Considering that Mr. McCarthy just removed me from the Intelligence Committee, I would like nothing better ... than to be Kevin McCarthy's home state senator," Schiff told Spectrum News. "There would be some justice in that."
Schiff, who was first elected to the House in 2001, rose to prominence as a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump. A frequent target for Republicans, Schiff served as an impeachment manager during Trump's first impeachment trial and later became a member of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Schiff joins two of his fellow House Democratic colleagues – Reps. Barbara Lee and Katie Porter – in the race for the seat held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the longest-tenured female Senator and the longest-serving U.S. Senator from California.
Feinstein, the 89-year-old California lawmaker who has held the seat since 1992, has not yet commented on whether or not she will seek re-election. She told reporters this week that she will announce her decision in the “next couple of months.”
Schiff told Spectrum News that he has been in "constant communiction" with Feinstein in recent weeks and months, and gave her a heads up before his announcement.
"I wouldn't be doing this if, if I didn't have her blessing to do so," he said. "But I think that she hasn't made her own decision yet, and she ought to have the time and space to make that decision."
Both Schiff and Porter are formidable fundraisers, so the race in the Golden State will no doubt be one of the most expensive races in the 2024 cycle. According to OpenSecrets, Porter was the No. 2 fundraiser among House candidates in 2021-22 with more than $25 million raised, ahead of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at $24.4 million, and behind House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., at $26.4 million. Schiff came in fourth on the list with $24.35 million raised.
Porter raised $1.3 million in online donations in the first 24 hours of her announcement, according to her campaign.
Last fall, sources close to Schiff told Spectrum News that he was exploring a bid for Senate if Sen. Feinstein retired, rather than seeking a role in House Democratic leadership.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.