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Politics & Policy

Rep. Barbara Lee files for Senate run, joining crowded field to succeed Feinstein

Rep. Barbara Lee speaks onstage at Civic Center Plaza during Women's March San Francisco on Jan. 19, 2019. | Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images

Rep. Barbara Lee filed paperwork Wednesday to join what is expected to become a crowded race for a coveted U.S. Senate seat.

Lee, who has represented Oakland in the House of Representatives since 1998, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission a day after Dianne Feinstein announced she would not seek reelection after a historic 30-year run in the Senate.

“The campaign is taking the necessary steps to prepare,” said Katie Merrill, a campaign consultant for Lee. “The congresswoman will have more to say about this before the end of the month.”

The Federal Election Commission website shows Rep. Barbara Lee has filed forms to run for the U.S. Senate. | Screenshot

A super PAC supporting Lee, called She Speaks for Me, also registered with the FEC on Tuesday.

Dan Newman, a political consultant working with the political action committee, confirmed in an email that the independent expenditure committee will be supporting Lee’s bid for Feinstein’s Senate seat. Patricia Mar, a political consultant in San Francisco, was listed as the treasurer of the new committee. 

The field to succeed Feinstein—whose announcement was expected—already includes fellow Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter.

Feinstein's reelection campaign had raised less than $600 last quarter while Schiff, who represents Burbank and cultivated a national profile during the impeachment hearings of former President Donald Trump, has amassed a campaign war chest of more than $20 million. Schiff recently secured the endorsement of former House Speaker and San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Porter, who represents Orange County, raised over a million in donations after launching her bid. Her whiteboard presentations while grilling corporate executives have made her a social media star, and she has positioned herself further to the left of Schiff as a progressive with the endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Lee, a Black woman with a long record as a progressive lawmaker, will become the lone person of color in the race, assuming she follows through on the paperwork filed Wednesday.

In her rise to become the highest-ranking African American woman serving in Congress, Lee has championed the fight for civil rights and equality. She previously chaired the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chaired the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Lee also made waves back in 2001 when she was the sole member of Congress to vote against the invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Correction: This story has been updated to note that Congress authorized the invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.