Ro Khanna bows out of Democratic California Senate race, endorses Barbara Lee

Ro Khanna, Rohit Khanna
U.S. Rep. Rohit ‘Ro’ Khanna, from California’s 17th Congressional District centered in Santa Clara and other parts of California’s Silicon Valley, is interviewed in Los Angeles Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) Reed Saxon/AP

Ro Khanna bows out of Democratic California Senate race, endorses Barbara Lee

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Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) bowed out of the crowded Democratic race for California Senate and endorsed his colleague Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

“The best place, the most exciting place, action place for me to serve as a progressive is in the House of Representatives, and I’m honored to be co-chairing Barbara Lee’s campaign for the Senate and endorsing her today,” Khanna said on CNN’s State of the Union.

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While a cacophony of progressives urged him to jump into the race, Khanna focused on Lee’s record, saying she has a “unique voice” and noting that she was the sole vote against authorizing the war in Afghanistan from the House over two decades ago.

Incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who is currently believed to be at home recovering from a bout of shingles, announced earlier this year she would not seek reelection. The race to succeed her has grown crowded with Democratic California Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter also declared their candidacies.

“I have respect for them, but Barbara Lee is a unique voice. She was the lone vote against the endless war in Afghanistan. She stood up so strongly against the war in Iraq,” Khanna added. “Frankly, Jake, representation matters. We don’t have a single African American woman in the United States Senate. She would fill that role.”

Under California’s primary system, the top two Democrats could end up facing off in the general election. This happened when Vice President Kamala Harris competed for the seat and squared off against then-Rep. Loretta Sanchez in 2016.

Khanna declined to swipe at Lee’s foes, including Schiff, who recently came out in favor of Medicare for All.

“I think Barbara Lee has had the track record for the past 20 years really to earn a lot of the progressive trust, particularly again on issues of war and peace and social and racial justice. And so I expect a lot of the progressives in California will rally around her,” Khanna said.

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The race has splintered Democrats with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) backing her one-time student, Porter, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) endorsing Schiff.

Democrats are facing one of the most brutal maps nationally in recent decades for defending control of the Senate in 2024. Twenty Democrats and three Democratic-aligned independent senators are facing reelection, dramatically eclipsing the Republicans’ 11. California is expected to be a safe bet for Democrats.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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