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California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee to announce Senate run by end of month

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(WASHINGTON) — California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee plans to formally announce she’s running for Senate by the end of the month, ABC News confirmed Friday.

A source with knowledge of her plans said Lee plans to officially launch her campaign to coincide with Black History Month.

The Washington Post was the first to report Lee’s plans.

In a statement to the Post, Lee focused on the absence of Black women in the U.S. Senate, where none currently serve after Vice President Kamala Harris gave up her seat.

Lee stressed that “our voices are sorely missed in the Senate.”

“I have spent my life fighting against discrimination and speaking on behalf of people of color, underserved communities, and those living in poverty. It is why I have worked for and achieved progressive change my entire life,” Lee said in a statement to ABC News. “My lived experience as a Black woman making true progressive change for Californians will give a voice in the U.S. Senate to those who are currently voiceless.”

The race to win California’s Senate seat, currently held by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is turning into a crowded battle.

Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter have already announced campaigns for her seat.

Nearly two years away from the general election, the California Senate race among Democrats is likely to be one of the most high-profile and most competitive of the cycle — in part because the enormous state has many prominent politicians and because Senate seats in the state rarely open up.

And despite the number of political heavyweight already running, more could end up joining the political fray. California Democratic Rep. Khanna is also considering jumping in.

House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi has weighed in, throwing support behind Schiff if Feinstein does not seek reelection.

At 89, the oldest sitting senator, Feinstein has said she would announce in the spring if she would seek reelection. And despite not having made any official announcement, Feinstein filed paperwork in 2021 to run for reelection.

California has a jungle primary in which voters choose any candidate, regardless of party, and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election.

That means two Democrats could be pitted against each other during the general election, which is what happened when Feinstein ran for reelection in 2018.

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