Speaking of aging out, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) isn't particularly close to doing so, at least not by the standards of the U.S. Senate. Yesterday, in a development that is surprising to approximately no one, the 73-year-old Senator announced that she will run for a third term next year.
Warren is popular in Massachusetts, and the state is very blue, so she's a shoo-in to be reelected. The Republicans will try to find a sacrificial lamb who can self-fund, but that person will lose big time. The only GOP candidate who has a chance to keep the race respectable is former governor Charlie Baker, but he's busy making big bucks running the NCAA, he appears to be done with politics, and he would lose, too (just by a smaller margin). One can scarcely imagine what Warren would have to do to lose the race. Maybe if she was caught having an extramarital affair with Donald Trump. She'll be 81 at the end of a third term, which is younger than three current members of the Senate (Chuck Grassley, R-IA; Dianne Feinstein, D-CA; and Bernie Sanders, I-VT). There are also another dozen senators within a couple years of 81 right now. So, she won't be an outlier.
Meanwhile, speaking of Feinstein, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) announced yesterday that he's not going to throw his hat into the ring, and that he will leave Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee (all D-CA) to duke it out. He also gave his endorsement to Lee. Khanna's problem is that he would be angling for the progressive vote, which is the same segment that Porter and Lee are angling for. California may be very blue, but there just aren't enough progressive voters to go around. Indeed, California Democrats actually skew pretty moderate, which is why the open seat was occupied by Feinstein—who is very, very moderate—for so many years.
The general presumption is that Khanna, in foregoing a Senate run, is positioning himself for a presidential run in the Bernie lane. After all, if Joe Biden runs again in 2024, as seems likely, then the next opportunity for a serious progressive challenger will come in 2028, by which time Sanders will be pushing 90. It's not yet been shown that a person can actually win the White House from the Bernie lane, but clearly Khanna would like to try it.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is undoubtedly thrilled that the number of serious Democrats in the U.S. Senate race is likely to be capped at three. Republicans tend to get about 40% of the vote in statewide races, and if there were four serious Democrats running, it was at least possible that the voting would end up something like this: Republican 1 (20%), Republican 2 (20%), Schiff (15%), Porter (15%), Lee (15%), Khanna (15%). In that case, thanks to California's jungle-style primary, the two Republicans would advance to the general. This was not likely, mind you, but it was at least possible. However, with just three serious Democrats, the slim chance of this happening is now effectively down to zero. Especially since the Republicans don't even have one candidate yet, much less two. We seriously doubt that Lee could win statewide since the other two are (1) much better known statewide and are (2) fundraising powerhouses. So most likely, the general election will be Porter vs. rich unknown Republican or Schiff vs. rich unknown Republican. (Z)