What’s Next for Congresswoman Barbara Lee After Senate Race Defeat?


The stage is set: Adam Schiff and Steve Garvey will face off in November for the highly coveted Senate seat. Both Katie Porter and Barbara Lee have forfeited their congressional seats after the election run. Lee, having placed fourth in the Senate race, released the following statement thanking her supporters and providing a look into what’s next for her political career. 

“I want to thank all of my supporters and all of the volunteers who made calls, knocked doors, and did amazing work on the ground to reach communities across the state. Our voices and values were heard loud and clear: Californians deserve a living wage, an economy that works for everyone, housing and healthcare as human rights, racial and economic equity, public safety for all communities and just climate action.

“I was proud to run a grassroots, multicultural and multi-generational campaign that gave a voice to all those wanting to see true progressive change. Despite being heavily outspent by my opponents, our values never wavered. In every step of this campaign, we never backed down from our progressive vision, and worked relentlessly to build a coalition that represents communities that too often are not afforded a seat at the table, the former Congresswoman said.”

Lee leaves behind a legacy that recently saw her broke rank as one of the early advocates in Congress for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, amidst a protracted humanitarian crisis. This stance set her apart from Schiff, who is staunchly opposed to a ceasefire.

“We also sent a strong message on the urgency of calling for a permanent ceasefire and ending the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Killing over 30,000 civilians is catastrophic and it will never lead to peace and security for the Israelis or the Palestinians. The United States needs to be a leader for a pathway to peace and security in the Middle East and around the world.” 

The 77-year-old legislator stood firm in her belief that following her disappointing finish, she vowed to continue to show up for her district and state. 

“As a Congressmember and a proud Californian, I will continue to deliver for my district and for California. I look forward to working with our people-powered coalition to push our elected leaders to take bold action on ending gun violence, climate justice, defending our reproductive freedom, fixing and protecting our democracy and prioritizing the needs of working people—not big corporations or the wealthy. We will continue to mobilize voters throughout the state and demand action for a better California and not settle for half-measures. I congratulate my colleague, Rep. Adam Schiff on his victory in advancing in this race.”

Lee’s storied political career saw her as one of ten members of Congress who were enjoined as plaintiffs in the NAACP’s lawsuit against Donald Trump, the first civil legal action seeking to hold the former president along with the Proud Boys and others accountable for their conduct connected to the January 6th insurrection.

She led on funding HBCUs minority serving institutions and was the first African American to chair the State and Foreign Operations Committee.

Lee also wrote California’s first Violence Against Women Act to ensure protections for victims of domestic violence and authored the California Schools Hate Crimes Reduction Act to protect all students – regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation – from hate crimes. She also worked to defeat California’s three-strikes law.

In 1998, with 66% of the vote, Lee—who holds an MSW from UC Berkeley in mental health—was elected to Congress to serve California’s 12th congressional district, which is based in Oakland. She would go on to be re-elected to the post 12 more times.

Share the Post:

Related Posts