California newspapers owned by McClatchy, led by The Sacramento Bee, on Wednesday endorsed Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) in the Golden State’s Senate primary.
Lee is running against two other House Democrats, Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.) and Katie Porter (Calif.) in a seat held by Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif). Butler was appointed after Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) death and will not pursue reelection.
The opinion boards of the Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee, Merced Sun-Star, The Tribune in San Luis Obispo and The Bee praised Lee’s competitors, calling the House trio “smart, forward-thinking and politically courageous.”
“Ultimately, though, Barbara Lee stood out from the rest. Her independence, her perseverance in fighting for the underdog and her life experiences set her apart,” the opinion piece states.
The newspapers praised Lee’s life experiences that “informed” her politics, anti-war stances and being “well-versed in the nuts and bolts” of running a government.
“She’s strong on access to housing — she served on a housing subcommittee for 11 years — and she advocates for gun control measures,” they wrote. “Lee is an idealist and a truth-teller; she’s often compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — minus the curmudgeonliness.”
They acknowledged that her effort to win the seat will “not be so easy.”
According to a Berkeley IGS poll released released Friday, Schiff is favored by 21 percent of California voters. Porter won 17 percent in the poll, while Lee got nine percent of support. Schiff got a notable bump on Sunday when he was endorsed by The Los Angeles Times, the state’s largest newspaper.
The California Senate race is non-partisan, meaning both Democrats and Republicans will be on the same ballot.
The top GOP candidate in the race is Steve Garvey, a former Los Angeles Dodgers player who amassed 13 percent support in the Berkley poll. The board went after him for having “no political experience,” but noted that he can get enough votes to advance.
The race’s primary is March 5, on Super Tuesday. The top two candidates will advance to the general election, no matter which party they belong to.