GOP attorney joins California race for Feinstein Senate seat

FILE - Republican Eric Early, a candidate for California attorney general, speaks at a candidates' forum, in Sacramento, Calif., on March 21, 2018. Early, a Republican attorney announced Tuesday, April 11, 2023, he's entering the California contest to replace outgoing Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, joining a growing field in a state known for its prominent Democratic tilt. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) (Rich Pedroncelli, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

LOS ANGELES – A Republican attorney announced Tuesday he's entering the 2024 contest to replace outgoing Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, joining a growing field in a state known for its liberal political tilt.

Eric Early — an unsuccessful candidate for state attorney general in 2022 and 2018 and for Congress in 2020 — said he will campaign for the votes of “forgotten” Californians contending with rising crime, drug use, high taxes and what he called “far-left" ideology creeping into government.

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He said in a statement on his website that he will “stand up to the Socialist, ‘woke’ interests that control Washington, D.C."

Feinstein, the oldest member of Congress, said in February that she would not seek reelection. Her term ends in January 2025.

Early, who lives in Los Angeles, will start at a disadvantage.

A Republican hasn't won a statewide race in California since 2006. Democrats dominate the Legislature and the congressional delegation, and registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by about 2 to 1.

California Republicans have struggled to enlist established, well-financed candidates for statewide races in recent years, given the party's dismal record on Election Day. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom faced only token GOP opposition in his reelection campaign last year.

Early is joining a field led by three prominent Democratic members of Congress: Rep. Katie Porter, known for her tough questioning of CEOs and other witnesses at hearings; Rep. Adam Schiff, who rose to national prominence as the lead prosecutor in then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial; and Rep. Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization for the use of military force after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In the 2022 primary election for attorney general, Early received 16% of the vote and did not advance to the November runoff. In the 2018 contest, he received 14% of the vote and did not advance then either. In his 2020 congressional race, he lost in a landslide to Schiff.

“Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee have been in Congress for a combined 51 years. Judge them by the results of their actions and their votes — they put us in this mess," Early said in the statement.