The New Year has already been a busy one for California politics. Governor Gavin Newsom was sworn in for a second term in the midst of widespread speculation about his presidential ambitions. One Californian was resigning as House Speaker when another, after an extremely contentious and protracted process, was elected to replace her. Even the city of San Francisco got in on the act, taking 17 ballots to choose who would chair the Board of Supervisors.

The GOP would likely have a better chance in Porter’s district without her.

While all this was going on, speculation about who will run to succeed Dianne Feinstein in the US Senate when her term expires at the end of 2024 has also been heating up. Feinstein, who won his first election a few months after Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, and has been in the Senate since 1992He has yet to officially announce whether he will seek a sixth term. However, he turns 90 this year, so most assume he won’t run again.

Enter Katie Porter, the first female candidate to announce her intention to run for Feinstein’s seat. She has been a Democratic member of the House since 2019, winning a historically Republican district that includes parts of Orange County. Porter’s idea using one of his famous blackboards getting the best of the likes of Sens. Rand Paul or Ted Cruz on the Senate floor would delight partisan Democrats. Also, if elected, it would ensure that California, where several women including Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Vice President Kamala Harris have served the state well in the Senate, would still have a female senator.

As a strong fundraiser with a good national profilePorter would be a solid candidate.

At first glance, it might appear that the race to succeed Feinstein has no real drawbacks for California Democrats, who will be able to choose from a number of beloved politicians (possibly including Reps. Ro Khanna, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee), but Porter’s situation is a bit more complicated. His Senate bid has a potential downside for national Democrats that should be made clear.

He starts with one of the reasons he can run for the Senate: his Orange County district is not easy for a Democrat to win. Last year, his re-election campaign was one of the last to be decided in the country, as his margin of victory was about 9,000 votes. Porter won in 2018 and 2020 for equally narrow margins. If he stays in the House, he can expect close races every couple of years and eventually lose one.

For Porter, the logic and political equation behind his decision to run for the Senate and thus relinquish his House seat after this term (he is not allowed to run for re-election to the House and at the same time to run for the Senate) was not complicated. If he wins the Senate, he’ll probably have an easy run every six years, instead of a tough re-election fight every two years.

Porter was able to use his national name recognition to raise enough money to win re-election last year, but a first-time Democratic congressional candidate is unlikely to have such political assets.

The issue Porter’s campaign poses for Democrats has nothing to do with his chances of winning or what he would do in the Senate. It has a lot to do with his departure from the House, which could make it difficult for Democrats to retain that seat and thus regain control in 2024. Because Porter is running for the Senate, his district will now be an open seat. , giving the Republicans have a much better chance of winning there. Porter was able to use his national name recognition to raise enough money to win re-election last year, but a first-time Democratic congressional candidate is unlikely to have such political assets.

Even if a Democrat wins the seat in 2024, that new member of Congress will have to defend it again in 2026. Given how narrow the margins have been in the House of late, with the majority party holding a lead of less than 10 seats in recent two sessions of Congress, every seat matters, and the GOP likely has a better chance in their district with Porter out of the picture.

The other Democratic members of the House reported that they are considering the race, Khanna, Schiff and Lee, come from safe Democratic districts. If they decide to run for the Senate seat, there will be no cost to House Democrats because their replacements will almost certainly be Democrats as well.

Also, in the big picture, the difference between having Schiff, Khanna, Porter, or any other prominent California Democrat in the Senate is very small. It would all count for a possible Democratic majority on that body, voting with other Democrats on almost every bill, supporting a Democratic president and opposing a future Republican CEO.

Based on the communication skills, political knowledge and understanding of public policy that Porter has demonstrated in the House, there is no doubt that she would make an excellent senator and is embarking on a winning career. Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, she, too, could come at a potentially high cost.