Who Are You Voting For? A Look at the Candidates in California’s 2024 Senate Election

California’s 2024 primaries are fast approaching on Mar. 5. Among slates of candidates for the State Assembly, State Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives, Californians must also vote for two candidates to nominate for November’s general election for the U.S. Senate. As the deadline gets closer, the plurality of USF students remain undecided. 

Voters should get informed about their choices for the Mar. 5 primary, and vote their conscience.

Unlike most other states, California’s senatorial elections employ a nonpartisan top-two primary system. This means on Mar. 5 when Californians vote in the primary, the top two candidates across all participating parties will move forward to the general election in November. 

To get an idea of how USF students feel about the upcoming election, the Foghorn conducted a poll on Fizz, an anonymous college campus social media app, where users must have a “@dons.usfca.edu” email address to become a member. The Foghorn asked, “The California Senatorial election is on Mar. 5, and the late Senator Feinstein’s seat is up for grabs. Who are you voting for?” The poll received 1,221 votes, with a margin of error of +/-3%. Out of those, 32% of respondents were either not eligible or not voting. Of the remaining responses, a majority, 312 (26%) remain undecided. Among the candidates, Rep. Lee came in first with 14% (176 votes). Garvey won second with 12% (149 votes). Following were Reps. Porter (9% – 111 votes) and Schiff (7% – 89 votes).

These results contrast with an Emerson College survey conducted before the Feb. 20 debate that put Rep. Schiff in the lead at 28%, followed again by Steve Garvey at 22%, next Rep. Porter at 16%, and Rep. Lee at 9%. Only 13.4% of this poll’s respondents were in the 18 – 29 year-old age bracket. Comparatively, our poll indicates that Rep. Lee’s support is concentrated greatly within the USF student body.

Students can register to vote on the California Voter Registration Website, and can join USFVotes, USF’s largest election advocacy group for a number of Super Tuesday events on Mar. 5.

CANDIDATE BIOS-

Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine represents the 47th congressional district. Porter, an Iowa native, has achieved significant publicity for her veracious questioning of bank executives during congressional hearings.  She is endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Banks, and California Attorney General Rob Bonta.  

Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank represents the 30th congressional district. The Massachusetts native was the lead impeachment manager during the 2019 impeachment of Donald Trump. He is endorsed by actress Jamie Lee Curtis, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, along with 34 other current and former U.S. representatives.

Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland represents the 12th congressional district. Lee is a former student volunteer for the Black Panther Party, and she was the only candidate to call for a ceasefire in Gaza when questioned recently. Lee is endorsed by S.F. Mayor London Breed, and the California chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Steve Garvey is a former Major League Baseball first baseman for the L.A. Dodgers, who won the 1974 N.L. M.V.P and was a World Series Champion in 1981. He is notably endorsed by Rep. Ken Calvert of Corona.

One thought on “Who Are You Voting For? A Look at the Candidates in California’s 2024 Senate Election

  1. *On Gaza*
    According to the Jewish Insider, Schiff has accumulated the “most pro-Israel voting record of the top three candidates in recent weeks”. This includes a vote in support of H.Res.894, which condemns the drastic rise of antisemitism in the U.S. and world, while attesting that anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Both Schiff and Steve Garvey have refused to call for a ceasefire in the conflict, standing with Israel.

    Both Reps. Porter and Schiff support “humanitarian pauses” in the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, with Rep. Porter announcing her support of a “lasting bilateral ceasefire” after criticism in December. By contrast, Rep. Lee announced her support for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict ten days after Oct. 7. Lee wrote in an X post, “A conditional ceasefire is not a ceasefire at all. We need leaders who set the pace for change—not half-heartedly follow along when it’s politically expedient.” During the February 20th California Senate debate on KTVU, candidates were again asked “Would you vote for a resolution that said Israel has to impose an immediate ceasefire right now, no conditions, unconditional ceasefire, end the war?” Rep. Lee was the only candidate to answer yes.

    When asked about the importance to them that a candidate is calling for a ceasefire, Cory Jones, a second year engineering major answered, “I feel like as a candidate if you support that ceasefire it just goes to show what your human values are. What you find important, the types of problems we have within countries we could be allied with, the countries we’re not necessarily connected with, but it just goes to show you how we view humanity and we’re calling for peace.”

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