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Rep. Adam Schiff announces 2024 Senate run, teeing up a high-profile primary

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) delivers remarks during the a hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 21, 2022.
Kevin Dietsch
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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) delivers remarks during the a hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 21, 2022.

Updated January 26, 2023 at 5:27 PM ET

California Congressman Adam Schiff announced his run for U.S. Senate, entering what could be the most crowded and high-profile primary race of the 2024 cycle.

Schiff announced his run in a Twitter video Thursday. He joins Rep. Katie Porter, who announced her bid for the seat earlier this month. Reps. Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee may also be considering a run.

The seat currently held by 89-year-old Dianne Feinstein is safely Democratic, but the rest of the 2024 Senate map is expected to be difficult for the party — with incumbents up for reelection in swing states like Michigan, Ohio and Arizona. Democrats are also up for reelection in solidly conservative Montana and West Virginia.

Feinstein has not said whether she will run for reelection or retire next year. She told reporters she would likely make her decision "in a couple of months," but that she had no qualms with others entering the race before then.

"I think it's all fine. I think people should, if they want to run, run," Feinstein said the day before Schiff announced. "For me, I just need a little bit more time."

Schiff told NPR's Ari Shapiro on All Things Considered Thursday that he sat down with Feinstein about throwing his hat in the ring, and that at no point in time did she try and convince him not to run. He said he would let her make announcement when it's best for her.

"I have a lot of respect for her, and respect and admiration and affection for her. We worked together closely for years," Schiff said.

Schiff, 62, rose to national prominence during former President Donald Trump's first impeachment. As House Intelligence Committee chairman, he played a key role in the investigation and also served as an impeachment manager.

Schiff told NPR that he decided to run for Senate over his concerns that democracy is at risk and because the current economy isn't working for millions of Americans and has left many people "vulnerable to a demagogue who promises that he alone can fix it."

In his campaign announcement, he called Trump's impeachment "the biggest job of [his] life."

"I wish I could say the threat of extremism is over. It is not," he said. "Today's Republican Party is gutting the middle class and threatening our democracy. They aren't going to stop. We have to stop them."

Schiff also served on the panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He was first elected to the House in 2000, after serving in the California Senate and as an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lexie Schapitl is a production assistant with NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio pieces and digital content. She also reports from the field and assists with production of the NPR Politics Podcast.
Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.