Former Google executive ends longshot bid for Dianne Feinstein’s US Senate seat in California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former California tech executive is ending her longshot campaign for the U.S. Senate seat once held by the late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, she announced Tuesday.

Democrat Lexi Reese said in a statement that she has been unable to raise the many millions of dollars needed for a first-time candidate to introduce herself to voters across the nation’s most populous state. She called for term limits and campaign finance reform “so the cost to enter is not insurmountable for most people.”

“Career politicians have institutional, press, and party support that is very difficult to replicate as an outsider,” Reese said.

The former Google and Facebook executive joined the crowded contest in June, positioning herself as “a new candidate with a fresh message.” She was never able to break into the top tier of candidates that includes Democratic U.S. Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee.

Federal records through the end of September showed Reese raised over $1.8 million for the race, including over $500,000 she and her husband contributed to the campaign. She ended the month with about $700,000 in the bank.

By comparison, Schiff closed his books in September with over $32 million on hand, and Porter had nearly $12 million to spend. It can cost $2 million or more to run a single week of TV ads in the Los Angeles market alone.

Reese lamented that elective offices are mostly in the hands of political careerists and former lawyers who are “consistently behind on major issues that are now existential threats,” including climate instability, gun violence, economic inequality and homelessness.

“I do not foresee better outcomes without more diverse and experienced folks tackling these issues from different angles,” Reese said.

In what appeared to be a lightly veiled dig at her former rivals, Reese also chided her own party to stop focusing on former President Donald Trump and so-called corporate “evil-doers” and said to recognize that most Americans don’t trust the government and feel the system is rigged against them.

She closed on an upbeat note, saying that “potential is everywhere” and change is possible with the right leaders.

The seat is expected to stay in Democratic hands — a Republican hasn’t won a Senate race in the strongly Democratic state since 1988. Republicans seeking the seat include former baseball MVP Steve Garvey and attorney Eric Early, an unsuccessful candidate for state attorney general in 2022 and 2018 and Congress in 2020.

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