Rep. Barbara Lee Takes Lead Over Schiff In Delegate Vote for Senate Race at California Democratic Party Convention

Elgin Nelson

In an unexpected twist at the recent Democratic Party Convention, Rep. Barbara Lee— once considered an underdog—edged past Adam Schiff in a delegate vote for the upcoming California Senate race. Garnering 41% of the delegate votes compared to Schiff’s 40%, Lee’s rise has turned heads—giving her a second wind in what is essentially a three-way race between Lee, Schiff, and Katie Porter. Porter (Orange County) who is polling neck-and-neck with Schiff, left the convention with only 16% of the delegate vote. 

“I am incredibly proud and honored to receive the support of so many hard-working Democratic Party delegates,” Lee said in a statement. “Our momentum is picking up speed, and tonight’s vote is evidence that our movement is touching people across the Golden State. The people want a tried and tested progressive with the record to prove it. I’m ready to deliver.”

At the convention, Lee, Schiff, and Porter all vowed to support immigration reform, tackle climate change, address inflation, and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Lee said a ceasefire is “the only way to release hostages safely, provide humanitarian assistance, and save civilian Palestinian and Israel lives.” Her public outcry for a ceasefire gained much support among delegates, particularly Yousuf Bhaghani, President of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in California.

“It’s important to me because I believe that loss of life on both sides of the fence is unacceptable,” Bhaghani said. “A leader should not be afraid of expressing, especially the leader who will lead in the U.S. Senate.”

Even with newfound support for Rep. Lee, the official Democratic party endorsement is elusive as none of the prominent candidates—Reps. Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff—managed to reach the required 60% threshold. 

“When you have all three candidates spending money, all present here, it is very, very hard,” Bob Mulholland, a member of the Democratic National Convention and political strategist in California, said.

These candidates are vying for success in California’s open top-two primary, scheduled for March 5, ahead of the general election on Nov. 5.

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