Katie Porter blames billionaires, campaign ‘lies’ in concession speech even though big donors backed her

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California Democrat Katie Porter took a swipe at Rep. Adam Schiff and special interest groups after losing the open Senate primary, suggesting that Schiff’s campaign spent millions “peddling lies” and ultimately boosted the Republican in the race, former baseball player Steve Garvey, on Super Tuesday.

“We’re standing three to one in TV spending and an onslaught of billionaires who spent millions peddling lies,” Porter said in her concession speech Tuesday night. “And our opponents spending more to boost the Republican than promoting his own campaign.”

“While the votes are still coming in, we know that tonight we’ll come up short,” Porter said just after 9 p.m. Tuesday. “Our opponents threw everything – every trick, millions of dollars, every trick in the playbook – to knock us off our feet. But I’m still standing in high heels.”

She added, “Because of you, we have the establishment running scared.” 

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Porter, a progressive Democrat who has been representing Orange County since 2019, later said in her speech she “never considered” running for office “until Trump was elected” in 2016. She rose to popularity helped by viral moments questioning big Pharma CEOs during congressional hearings and publicly defied big corporate campaign backing.

However, Porter herself has received millions of dollars from big donors to boost her campaign, despite touting her record of not accepting corporate PAC money. She has reportedly accepted thousands of dollars in donations from big Wall Street donors, according to federal campaign finance disclosures.

Additionally, according to Open Secrets — a nonprofit that tracks government campaigns — Porter received just over $50,000 in PAC donations, more than $32,000 from Apple and Google, more than $58,000 collectively from the Universities of California San Francisco and Irvine, just under $16,000 from Kaiser Permanente and over $600,000 from lawyers and law firms. 

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California Senate primary election

Porter raised just under $28 million in her Senate campaign, trailing slightly behind Schiff’s $31 million. Rep. Barbara Lee, another Democrat seeking the open Senate seat, raised $4 million, and Republican Garvey raised just over $2 million. Under California’s primary system, the top two candidates in the primary election will face off in the general election in November.

According to a Washington Post report last month, Porter also redirected at least half a million dollars in ads attacking another GOP contender, Eric Early, describing him as a “100% pro-Trump candidate” who is “way more dangerous than Steve Garvey.”

The highly contested seat was held for more than 30 years by former Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., until her death last year, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to appoint Democrat Sen. Laphonza Butler to fill the vacancy.

Ahead of Tuesday’s election, Schiff, a Burbank Democrat and congressman since 2001, spent millions of dollars on campaign ads describing Garvey as someone who “voted for Trump, twice, and supported Republicans for years, including far right conservatives,” according to one ad.

The move to paint long-shot Republican opponent Garvey as a staunch Trump ally was seen as an effort to squeeze out Porter and Lee from the race — giving Schiff a higher likelihood of winning the general election instead of splitting the vote between Democrats in the deep blue bastion.

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Feinstein in a wheelchair

Garvey and Schiff will face off in the fall. Schiff is expected to win, but Garvey said during his victory speech on Tuesday, “They say in the general election we’re going to strike out. That’s from the crowd that believes in the status quo.”

Schiff, whose victory speech was interrupted by protesters calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Palestine conflict, said, “We are so lucky, so lucky to live in a democracy where we all have the right to protest.”

“We are so lucky to live in that kind of democracy, and we want to make sure we keep this kind of democracy,” he said.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Schiff, Lee, Porter and Garvey’s campaigns for comment. 

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