Thousands of democrats from across California are convening this weekend for the annual state party convention in Los Angeles, including all three major Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate.
Congress members Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbra Lee are hoping to replace retiring Senator Dianne Feinstein.
More than 2,500 in attendance held party meetings and heard from high-profile democrats, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In a short moment of unity, Schiff and Lee met up at the convention, but otherwise the convention was another part of the campaign trail with each candidate explaining why he or she is the one best to serve.
Lee says the Senate lacks any Black women, something she says is crucial for representation.
“First, the Senate does not have a voice like mine in the senate,” Lee said. “…Inequality has a lot of legs. I want people to know I’m running this campaign not for myself, but for them.”
A longtime member of Congress from Oakland, she said her record casting the sole vote against the Afghanistan war declaration proves she’s an independent thinker ready for the Senate.
“I think it’s important to look at a record of candidates, see what they’ve done and see how they’ve delivered for the people,” Lee said.
A record is exactly what Schiff said he’s proud of from his two-plus decades in Congress.
“I’ve helped deliver light rail, an earthquake early warning system for the state, textbooks in schools, a patient bill of rights,” Schiff said.
And beyond those issues, Schiff argued voters should take into account his work against former president Donald J. Trump, including as lead prosecutor during Trump’s first impeachment trial.
“I do think the leadership that I demonstrate sets me apart in that our democracy is at deep risk over the last several years, and I stepped up to lead,” Schiff said. “I took on one of the most powerful bullies in the country and I would do it again if I have to.”
But on that note of experience, it’s Orange County Congresswoman Katie Porter who argues she’s uniquely qualified as a single mother raising three children.
“In a very, very personal way, I see the challenges we are facing now, and I see the future of California,” Porter said. “My kids are worried as are so many of us about whether they will be able to afford a house in California, about climate change.”
She says that her experience as a single mother inspires her to fight for people like her.
“The billionaires and corporate special interests have too much power in Washington, and they are getting their way in D.C. and leaving families behind,” Porter said. “That’s what this race is about, about shaking up the status quo in dc. Making sure Congress works better for everyday Californians.”
All candidates said they’re just getting started and that they plan to take their campaigns across the state throughout this election.