Rep. Katie Porter doesn’t rule out running for office again, calls TikTok legislation ‘hasty’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

(Inside California Politics) — Rep. Katie Porter (D) may have lost her race for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by the late Dianne Feinstein, but she said she is not done with this election cycle.

The Orange County representative spoke with Inside California Politics about the reaction to her concession statement and her plans for the rest of her time in Congress.

The text of the interview below has been slightly adjusted for clarity.

Nikki Laurenzo: Congresswoman Porter, I want to start by asking you about the news that you made this week, clarifying some comments that you posted on Twitter post-election a couple of weeks ago. It was the use of the word “rigged,” and obviously, that caused a lot of blowback. There were some comparisons made to former President Donald Trump because that’s the word he used in terms of his 2020 election loss. You said on the podcast “Pod Save America” for our viewers who didn’t see that or hear it that you wish you would have used a different word. Why is that? And did you anticipate the response to it?

Rep. Katie Porter: Well, clearly the response kind of obscured, I think, the point I was making which is that outside election spending, particularly spending that is not disclosed before the election and super PAC spending to the tune of millions does manipulate and distort and affect our election system.

As I said in my statements immediately following the election, and as I said, following every election, I have never doubted and do not doubt the incredible integrity and hard work of our election officials. I have gratitude for them, for their work to count every vote. Although the outcome wasn’t what I wanted here, every Californian should have complete confidence in our election officials. But that can be true at the same time another thing is true, which is that big money in our politics is a big problem.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass discusses pre-Olympics trip to Paris

Laurenzo: I want to point out too that you and other progressive Democrats have used words like rigged in the past to describe the economy, your mentor Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders.

So you know, words like that aren’t uncommon, but in our current environment, they can cause a sparked reaction like we saw here. But I want to ask you too, now that you’ve had some time— a few weeks to decompress— and look back at your race. What’s your takeaway? Any regrets that you have?

Rep. Porter: Well, look, we got outspent three to one, particularly by super PAC money. I suffered with $10 million of negative spending against me and was the only candidate who had negative attacks (against) them on air. That’s always tough. I think it’s tough to overcome. I’m glad that I ran the race. I did focus on issues like affordable housing bringing down costs for California families, and the need to shake up how we do things in Washington.

Look, when I started this race, I was the first candidate to launch, and I had a track record of never taking corporate PAC money. I think that helped move the other candidates in the race, including our Democratic nominee, Adam Schiff, to make the decision to also not take corporate PAC money. That’s a good decision he’s made and I commend him for it.

Laurenzo: Will you be helping him campaign or putting out an endorsement of any kind?

Rep. Porter: Well, I had a very pleasant exchange with Representative Schiff, and of course, I’ve seen him in Washington since. But I called and congratulated him. He sent me a lovely text message back. We’ve been colleagues, Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff and I throughout this race. And so I’m excited to see the race continue. I’m very concerned about the policies that Steve Garvey expressed. Clearly, Adam Schiff is the right choice for California. Right now I’ve been focusing a lot on trying to help some of our other California candidates, raising money also for Joe Biden, but also for candidates like Dave Min, who’s running in the seat that I’m currently in. Will Rollins, who’s running against Ken Calvert, making sure that we’re winning the House of Representatives back for Democrats.

Laurenzo: So there are a lot of questions surrounding your political future. You know the political consultant class likes to play the game of “maybe this could happen” and throw out those scenarios. One proposal was— it even happened on our show a couple of weeks ago— that you could potentially be a candidate for governor here in California. Are you interested in that?

Sen. Steven Bradford discusses bill that would end low-level traffic violation stops

Rep. Porter: Well, what I’m focusing on right now is continuing to do my job. I have lots of months left of serving Californians, and I’ve been working hard this week, having hearings about the oversight of foreign aid that we give to other countries, and a hearing about influence peddling in Congress. So I’m working to put together, hopefully, what will be a bipartisan piece of legislation that can help address those issues. I’ve also been doing a lot of planning for things that I’m gonna be able to do in my district to continue to represent my constituents. So that’s where my focus is now, as well as on my three children.

Laurenzo: OK, so that’s not a no. Let’s say a Republican takes your Congressional seat and Dave Min is not successful… Would you rule out running for that seat again?

Rep. Porter: Well, I’m going to be out there knocking on doors all summer to make sure that Dave Min wins the seat. He had a strong win in the primary and look, Orange County has more registered Democrats than Republicans. This is a seat that we can hold.

Scott Bob’s track record as a lobbyist lawbreaker is well known. California voters and Orange County voters had the chance to learn about that last cycle.

So my job is really to continue to help Democrats win up and down the ballot. That was going be what I was going to be doing if I had been successful in the Senate race, that’s what I’m gonna be doing, even given that I wasn’t successful.

Laurenzo: I want to ask you about TikTok, because this has been in the news. Legislation introduced made it out of the House and into the Senate right now where it seems to be stalled, and you are not for an outright ban of TikTok. Why is that?

Rep. Anna Eshoo discusses bill that could lead to TikTok ban in U.S.

Rep. Porter: Well, to be clear, the legislation that the House considered would have given TikTok a choice: either divest and sell from the Chinese owner ByteDance to an American-owned entity or cease to operate. So it wasn’t a ban, it was a choice and if they didn’t choose to sell to a U.S. subsidiary then they wouldn’t have been able to operate.

Part of the reason I voted no on the legislation is that it was very, very hasty and we have not taken the time as representatives of the American people, to explain to our constituents what are the concerns about foreign ownership of media, including social media. Those are very, very real concerns.

I anticipate that there will be more legislation in this area going forward and I think we have to take both the national security concerns as well as the concerns about the influence of our democracy very, very seriously.

But we have to bring the American people along in that conversation and make sure that we’re designing a bill that can actually work to achieve its intended outcome, which is to reduce the potential for foreign interference in our social media while preserving the ability for people to use a product in an app that they find useful.

Laurenzo: Congresswoman Katie Porter, as always, we appreciate your time here on Inside California Politics.

Rep. Porter: Thank you so much.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX40.