California Rep. Adam Schiff has decided not to seek a position in House Democratic leadership, and instead will explore the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate, a person familiar with his thinking told Spectrum News.
Schiff would entertain seeking the seat of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. – the longest-tenured female senator and, at 89, the oldest sitting member of Congress – if she decides to retire at the end of her term in 2024, the same person said.
Schiff likely has a target on his back in a GOP-controlled congress. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the leading GOP candidate for Speaker, said in a Breitbart interview earlier this year that he would block some Democrats from committee assignments if Republicans took the majority, specifically mentoning Schiff as one of those members.
Spectrum News reached out to Senator Feinstein’s office to ask whether she is considering a run for re-election in 2024 or retirement, and when she would make a decision. A spokesman said her office had “nothing to report at the moment.”
If Feinstein decides to step down before her term ends, Schiff could face a problem: California Gov. Gavin Newsom told MSNBC’s Joy Reid last year he would name a Black woman to fill the position if it becomes vacant.
But Schiff would bring formidable assets to a Senate campaign. He has become well-known nationally for his work as Intelligence Committee chairman, a member of the Jan. 6 Committee and a manager of Trump’s first impeachment.
That high profile has helped him to become a prolific fundraiser, raking in more than $22 million in 2021 and 2022, fourth among House members behind McCarthy, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., according to Open Secrets.
Schiff also has the most cash on hand of any candidate this election cycle, with more than $21 million in his war chest.