United States Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Oakland has received some major co-signs from political leaders. However, the longtime California representative is struggling to raise the funds necessary to move past her opponents in the race for Senate, Yahoo News reports.
With endorsements from the Congressional Black Caucus, former Georgia General Assembly House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, and a verbal promise from California Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill the late Dianne Feinstein’s vacant senator seat with a Black woman, Lee seemed poised to claim a historic victory.
However, in recent months, her campaign has faced an uphill battle against Democratic candidates Rep. Katie Porter and Rep. Adam Schiff. From July to October, Lee’s campaign reported $1.1 million in expenses, which is $77,000 less than what she’s been able to raise, the outlet reports.
The campaign currently has $1.3 million in funds.
“If she can’t raise enough money to reach all the other crossover voters to differentiate herself, it’s going to be very difficult for her to make it,” said Democratic strategist Bill Wong. Both Schiff and Porter come into the race as some of the Democratic party’s most lucrative fundraisers, a fact that Wong believes may be influencing Lee’s willingness to spend early to help raise her public profile. The campaigning expert says Lee may feel she “has to spend early to build a fundraising base and to reach new donors.”
Keeping with his intention to use Feinstein’s vacancy to appoint a Black candidate, Gov. Newsom has thrown his support behind Laphonza Butler, who hasn’t yet confirmed her decision to run.
“I genuinely don’t know,” Butler said in October, per Yahoo News. “I want to be focused on honoring the legacy of Sen. Feinstein. I want to devote my time and energy to serving the people of California.”
In California, nearly half of the registered voters identify as Democrats; therefore, experts predict the state will elect another of the party’s candidates in the March 2024 primary. But it remains to be seen if Lee will be the appointee.
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