▶ Watch Video: Kevin McCarthy says he’ll block Democrats Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell from intelligence panel

Washington — Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff announced Thursday he is running for the Senate in California in 2024, becoming the second Democrat to officially enter what is quickly becoming a crowded race to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has not yet said whether she will run for reelection.

“We’re in the fight of our lives for the future of our country. Our democracy is under assault from MAGA extremists, who care only about gaining power and keeping it. And our economy is simply not working for millions of Americans, who are working harder than ever just to get by,” Schiff said in a statement. “And at this moment, we need a fighter for our democracy and our families, which is why I’m launching my campaign to be the next U.S. Senator for California.”

Schiff, who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in the last Congress and led the first impeachment against former President Donald Trump, joins Democrat Rep. Katie Porter in jumping into the race. Another Democrat, Rep. Barbara Lee, has told colleagues she intends to run.

Feinstein, 89, has held the Senate seat since 1992 and has not disclosed her future plans, despite calls from fellow Democrats for her to step aside. Earlier this month, she said in a statement that “everyone is of course welcome to throw their hat in the ring, and I will make an announcement concerning my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time.”

Schiff told Fox 11 in Los Angeles on Thursday that he informed Feinstein of his plans to run before his announcement, and said she was “more than comfortable with my announcing. I wouldn’t be doing that without that kind of blessing.”

California features a so-called jungle primary system, in which candidates from all parties compete in a primary, with top two candidates then advancing to the general election, regardless of their party. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy denied Schiff a seat on the Intelligence Committee in the new Republican-controlled Congress earlier this week. Schiff, who has long been one of Trump’s chief antagonists, accused McCarthy of retaliating against him for his role in Trump’s impeachment, saying he believed he was being denied the seat because he “led the impeachment of his master at Mar-a-Lago.”

Rebecca Kaplan and Ed O’Keefe contributed reporting.