Adam Schiff Wins California Senate Primary, Edging Katie Porter Out of Congress

Donald Trump cruised through Super Tuesday, as expected — but the night’s single biggest race may have been the U.S. Senate primary in California. It’s the first time in decades the seat in question has been seriously contested; Dianne Feinstein held it from 1992 until she died last September. She announced a few months earlier that she wouldn’t be seeking reelection, and the race to replace her has been raging ever since.

It effectively ended on Tuesday, with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Republican Steve Garvey, a former first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning the state’s “jungle primary” — in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election. California is a solid blue state, which means Schiff will almost certainly win in November and replace Laphonza Butler, who replaced Feinstein last year, in the Senate.

The real race was between Schiff and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.). Schiff, who burnished his profile by leading Trump’s first impeachment, enjoyed a fundraising apparatus so formidable that he and his allies were able to spend $11 million to boost Garvey, the Republican, in order to ensure he didn’t have to square off with Porter in the general election. Schiff also had the support of the Democratic establishment, including House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, the most influential Democrat in California.

With her loss, Porter’s tenure in Congress will soon come to a close. 

Porter skewered Schiff for his ties to the establishment in an interview with Rolling Stone last week. “Adam Schiff has been a politician for nearly 30 years and has been in Washington for 20-plus years,” she said. “During that time, until he decided to run for the Senate, he has taken corporate PAC money. Sadly, unfortunately, he has voted like it. He got money from predatory lenders, like payday lenders, and then he voted to undermine consumer protection rules. He took money from Big Oil and big energy companies from BP to Sempra Energy. And he has voted to delay green energy reforms.”


It’s not surprising, then, that Schiff was able to raise so much money in the race, or that powerful interests were spending against Porter, who became known in the House of Representatives for  taking it to corporate interests during hearings. The crypto industry super PAC Fairshake spent more than $10 million opposing Porter’s campaign. Fairshake’s top donors include the crypto exchange Coinbase; crypto firm Ripple Labs; venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and its founders; and the Winklevoss twins.

“If we want change — and faster change — on life-and-death issues like climate change, we need to send people to Washington who will do things differently,” Porter told Rolling Stone. “The glacial pace in the Senate is not getting us where we need to be.”