News & U.S. Politics

Dem Campaign Jumps The Gun With Claim Of Party Endorsement Despite Falling Far Short

Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California, who is running for the Senate in 2024, prematurely claimed that she won the California Democratic Party’s endorsement for her campaign despite earning fewer votes than necessary to do so, according to a report by Politico.

Lee is running for the Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Laphonza Butler of California, in a three-way race against fellow Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter of California. At the state party’s endorsing convention, held between Friday and Sunday, Lee prematurely released a press statement claiming that she had won the party’s endorsement even though she lost the vote for it, according to a report by Politico’s California Playbook. (RELATED: Newsom’s Senate Appointee Laphonza Butler Will Not Seek A Full Term In 2024)

“BARBARA LEE EARNS CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSEMENT,” wrote Lee’s campaign in a press release shortly after the vote concluded. Lee, with 41% of the vote, had only won a narrow plurality of the support over Schiff’s 40%, with both far less than the 60% required to earn the party’s endorsement.

Within minutes, Lee’s team corrected the press release, which now reads “Barbara Lee triumphs in California Democratic Party endorsement vote” and mentions that she only won a plurality. “From day one, this campaign has been focused on delivering the progressive agenda that working people in California deserve: a Green New Deal, single-payer healthcare, and economic, racial, social and environmental justice for all,” Lee wrote in the press release.

Lee is currently trailing both Schiff and Porter, who have 16% and 13% support, respectively, compared to her 9%, according to a Nov. 17 poll by Emerson College. However, her strong performance at the endorsing convention has been attributed to her left-wing political positions resonant with party activists, most notoriously her call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas during their ongoing armed conflict in Gaza.

Schiff and Porter, by contrast, have not called for a ceasefire, with Schiff, a former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, saying that “Israel is experiencing its own 9/11…and there are no both sides to this attack. Hamas is a terrorist group mass murdering hundreds of innocent Israelis and taking women and children hostage.” Schiff has also condemned the use of the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” often used by pro-Gaza activists, but which is seen as tantamount to the destruction of Israel.

California’s all-party blanket primary will be held on March 5, 2024, with the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, advancing to the general election.

Lee, Porter and Schiff’s campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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