In the run-up to the 2024 Senate elections, Democratic Representative Barbara Lee of California has reportedly made a premature assertion of victory in securing the California Democratic Party's endorsement for her campaign.
This claim was made despite her falling short of the necessary votes, as reported by Politico.
Lee is vying for the Senate seat presently occupied by Democratic Senator Laphonza Butler of California. She is in a three-way contest with fellow Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Katie Porter, both also from California. During the state party's endorsing convention, which took place from Friday to Sunday, Lee prematurely issued a press statement claiming she had secured the party's endorsement, despite losing the vote for it, according to Politico's California Playbook.
Lee's campaign issued a press release shortly after the vote, stating, "BARBARA LEE EARNS CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSEMENT." However, with only 41% of the vote, Lee had merely secured a narrow plurality of support, surpassing Schiff's 40% by a small margin. Both tallies were significantly below the 60% threshold required to secure the party's endorsement.
Lee's team quickly rectified the press release, which now reads, "Barbara Lee triumphs in California Democratic Party endorsement vote," and acknowledges that she only won a plurality. Lee stated in the press release, "From day one, this campaign has been focused on delivering the progressive agenda that working people in California deserve: a Green New Deal, single-payer healthcare, and economic, racial, social and environmental justice for all."
According to a poll conducted by Emerson College on November 17, Lee currently lags behind both Schiff and Porter, who have 16% and 13% support, respectively, compared to her 9%. However, her robust performance at the endorsing convention is attributed to her left-wing political stances, which resonate with party activists. This includes her controversial call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas amid their ongoing armed conflict in Gaza.
In contrast, Schiff and Porter have not called for a ceasefire. Schiff, a former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, stated, "Israel is experiencing its own 9/11and there are no both sides to this attack. Hamas is a terrorist group mass murdering hundreds of innocent Israelis and taking women and children hostage." Schiff has also criticized the phrase "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," often used by pro-Gaza activists, as it is perceived as a call for the destruction of Israel.
The all-party blanket primary in California is scheduled for March 5, 2024. The top two candidates, irrespective of party affiliation, will advance to the general election.