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Rep. Barbara Lee announces her intention to run for Senate.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., told members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday that she plans to run for Senate in 2024, adding her name to the list of candidates vying for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat.

Lee announced her campaign plans during a closed-door meeting of the caucus, though she made it clear that she is still focused on the flooding in her state, according to two sources directly familiar with her announcement.

According to one source, Lee’s remarks were more of a response to questions from her colleagues about the race, which has been in the news this week. According to one source familiar with the situation, Lee had previously discussed her intentions with Feinstein.

When asked about her remarks, Lee told reporters: “What I meant was that I respect and honour Senator Feinstein. There will be a time and place for me to discuss the Senate race.”

Lee, 76, has been a member of the House since 1998 and has previously served in the California state Senate and Assembly. She is currently the co-chair of the House Democratic Steering Committee.

Previously, the California Democrat co-chaired the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She has long advocated for Congress to reconsider the authorization for the use of military force that lawmakers passed in the aftermath of 9/11 and that presidents have used since as the legal basis for launching military operations.

Lee’s announcement comes a day after Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., 49, who has served in the House since 2019, announced she will run for Senate in 2024.

Porter made her announcement amid speculation that Feinstein, the longest-serving female senator, will retire at the end of 2024.

Porter did not mention Feinstein in her video announcement, but she did say that “it’s time for new leadership in the United States Senate.” Porter is ahead of some well-funded potential rivals, including Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Ro Khanna, by entering the race now, 22 months before the election.

Feinstein, who has become increasingly reliant on staff as she ages, is widely expected to retire at the end of her current term, but she has remained tight-lipped about her plans and has stated that she will not leave early. Feinstein’s spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times last month that she “has no plans to step down and will announce her plans for 2024 at the appropriate time.”

Schiff is also reportedly interested in the Senate seat, though he has not yet announced his plans.

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