This is not breaking news since it has already been widely reported that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) was going to run for the Senate, but now she has made it official. We are not clear on why she wants to do this since: (1) with 25 years' of House seniority, she is on a number of powerful House committees including the Budget Committee and the Appropriations Committee, (2) she will be 78 when she joins the Senate if she wins and it takes 20 years to achieve serious power, and (3) she is the longest of long shots to win. Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) are far more likely to make the top two in the primary than she is. Lee has $52,000 in her campaign account vs. $7 million for Porter and $21 million for Schiff and donors don't like to back losers. Both Porter and Schiff are already national figures (especially Schiff, who managed Trump's first impeachment) whereas Lee is barely known outside the Bay Area. Lee also isn't doing this to set a precedent, since California has already had a Black woman senator (Kamala Harris). Giving up a position of real power in the House for a microscopic chance at being a very junior senator strikes us as a curious move.
It will, of course, set up a monster primary in CA-12 (Oakland and Berkeley), a D+40 district. Every Democratic state representative and state senator in the district will immediately take interest, as will all the mayors, county executives, water district commissioners, dogcatchers, vice dogcatchers, associate dogcatchers and associate vice dogcatchers. The last time this seat was vacant was in 1997, when Ron Dellums (D) retired in the middle of his term, forcing the special election that Lee won. Before that, the last time the seat changed hands was in 1971, when Dellums beat Jeffrey Cohelan, a white liberal Democrat, in the Democratic primary on an anti-Vietnam War platform. This seat doesn't come up very often and everyone knows it. (V)