California Girls

Call most modern American women “girls” and you are understandably in trouble. The exception to that rule is if the word “girls” is proceeded by the word “California”. Today I’d like to talk about a couple of California girls – one actually from Massachusetts via Oklahoma – and a California boy. (Hey, I’ve got to be consistent. There is a generational aspect to this verbiage: My baby boomer wife has lunch with the ladies; my greatest generation mother got together with the girls.)

A few days ago, California Democratic Representative Katie Porter announced that she would run for the Senate in 2024. That seat is currently occupied by Diane Feinstein who has not announced her future plans but has stated that she did not intend to resign before her current term has expired. Only a few hours had elapsed when an email from Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren hit my inbox endorsing Porter. Juxtapose that with (among other writings) my Christmas wish for Porter and you have the core of today’s article.

There are persistent rumors that Feinstein is not as sharp as she used to be. She will be 91 on Election Day 2024 and would be 97 at the conclusion of a next term. Age is definitely a factor. As to mental sharpness, I cannot really comment.

For a sitting Senator of the same party to endorse the opponent of another sitting Senator is an almost unheard-of political move. It is certainly outside the “Miss Manner’s manual”. Warren and Porter go back over 20 years. In full disclosure I am a huge political fan of both. I have to believe that Porter knew the Warren endorsement was coming when she made her announcement. Further I believe that Feinstein wasn’t the only player meant to feel pressure.

There are serious rumors of at least two more Democrats of consequence ready to vie for the Feinstein seat. I think it is clear that fellow Democrats are trying to ease her out the door. California has an extremely deep Democratic bench. A compelling case can be made for any one of ten or more different Democrats to fill that seat.

Should it come to a primary several Democrats would have to decide if they wanted to give up their House seats in order to run. In such an open/wild scramble primary I doubt Porter would come out the winner (at least without a serious head start which she now may have). If Feinstein should serve out her term and retire at the end of it her successor would enter the Senate in January of 2025 and their seniority clock would start then. If she were to leave early and California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom were to name her successor and they won in 2024 their seniority would start sooner. In the Senate seniority isn’t everything, but it is a big deal.

I think Porter, Warren and other are putting pressure on Feinstein to leave early. Should that happen I am calling on Newsom to name Porter to the post. In that situation and left unchallenged by serious House Democrats (which I think would be the case) she would easily be returned to office by the voters in November of 2024. Just off the very top of my head I can think of three other California House Democrats who would then stay in their seats. America, California and the Democratic party all win in that scenario.

I may not wish that they could all be California girls but I know which one of them I’d like to see in the Senate soon and for many years to come. Why is a certain Beach Boys hit stuck in my mind?

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