Former rivals Lee, Porter throw support behind Schiff in California

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Wednesday joined Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) in officially endorsing Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for the Senate seat they all three sought.

Schiff will face former baseball star Steve Garvey, a Republican, in the general election, after they emerged as the top two vote-getters in the state’s nonpartisan primary in March.

“Californians have a clear choice this November in who they want representing them in the Senate — a Trump apologist or a defender of democracy,” Lee said in a Wednesday statement. “Now more than ever, we need to elect people like Adam Schiff, who will stand up against the autocrats looking to divide this country and dismantle our democracy.”

“For decades in Congress, I’ve worked alongside Adam to deliver for Californians. I’m honored to endorse him for the United States Senate,” she added.

Schiff thanked Lee for her support, calling her “one of our nation’s most powerful advocates for social justice and a tireless fighter to combat economic injustice, champion health care for all, and protect civil rights.”

“I’ve had the great privilege of working alongside her in the House to deliver for California families, and I look forward to continuing to partner with her to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for every Californian,” Schiff continued. “I’m so grateful for her support in this race.”

Lee’s endorsement comes after Porter endorsed Schiff in a local interview in late March, saying, “I think he is the right choice for Californians.”

“I called Adam I think it was Thursday after the election, and we had a pleasant exchange. He’s my colleague, he continues to be my colleague in the House of Representatives, as does Barbara Lee. And Adam and Steve Garvey will have a race going all the way through November,” she continued. “I hope very much that Adam will come and campaign here in Orange County.

“So while I’m not on the ballot in November, I’m very, very involved already in trying to help other candidates win, including House candidates across California, so I’m sure I’ll get a chance to see Adam on the campaign trail and continue to work with him,” she added.

When the news anchor pressed whether that means she’s endorsing Schiff, Porter said, “Yes, of course. I strongly support him. I think he’s the right choice for Californians.”

After months of a close primary race between the crowded field of candidates, Schiff emerged as the top candidate, with 31.6 percent of the vote, followed by Garvey’s 31.5 percent. Porter came in third with 15.3 percent, and Lee followed with 9.8 percent, according to Decision Desk HQ’s election returns.

In California’s nonpartisan system, the top two vote-getters move on to the general election in November, regardless of party affiliation. Schiff’s allies had worked to elevate Garvey, the Republican, in hopes of an easier red-blue match-up in the general, rather than a battle between Democrats.

The candidates are vying for the seat vacated by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), which is now being filled temporarily by appointee Sen. Laphonza Butler (D). Butler opted not to join the crowded primary field to try to hold onto the seat for a full term.

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