Los Angeles-based TV journalist Christina Pascucci has stepped into the political arena, announcing a surprise bid on Wednesday for the Senate position left vacant by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Pascucci, who has had a long-standing career at KTLA-TV and Fox 11, is entering the race as a first-time candidate.
The recent passing of Feinstein and the appointment of Democrat Laphonza Butler by California Gov. Gavin Newsom have already shaken up the contest. Feinstein had served as the U.S. Senator from California since 1992.
In an exclusive interview with POLITICO, Pascucci described her vision as a moderate consensus builder in a political landscape dominated by extreme partisanship. The 38-year-old Democrat sees herself as a “truth-seeker” who will prioritize legislation.
She stated, “I’ve been covering the most pressing issues of California for the past 15 years and watching this race closely… And the more I watched it, the more closely I studied it, I honestly felt dismayed by how it was shaping up. I spoke to a lot of others who felt the same way. Like, this is our future — more of the same.”
Pascucci also shared that she is 18 weeks pregnant and that the upcoming birth of her child played a significant role in her decision to run. She expressed, “The only thing crazier than not jumping in this late would be not jumping in at all, because I have to fight for what I believe is possible for California and for this country.”
“I spent my life and my upbringing learning to speak the language of people who disagree with me,” Pascucci explained. “A lot of times people don’t even try and they just say, ‘They’re extreme.’ That is the worst thing you can do. That is the intent of disinformation: To polarize us. The only way to combat that is by going in, sitting down and talking it out. And that’s what I’ve been trained to do as a journalist.”
A Berkeley poll from last month showed that the Senate election to succeed Feinstein remains a wide-open affair. Congressman Adam Schiff leads with 20% and Congresswoman Katie Porter follows closely at 17% to succeed Feinstein. However, one in three likely voters remain undecided. Former Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Steve Garvey has also entered the race.
Bill Burton, a Democratic strategist and veteran from the Obama era, is leading Pascucci’s campaign. Highlighting her diverse life experiences and outsider status, Burton commented, “In a very crowded field, Christina offers a choice for voters looking for someone not from a traditional political background… She has a perspective as a candidate who has lived her life telling the stories of every kind of Californian and understands this state in a way that sets her apart.”
“I put a lot of heart and thoughts and tears into making sure this is the right decision for my family — to risk my entire career I’ve worked so hard and built up,” she explained. “I am confident based on all the conversations I have had that I have the resources I need to win this race.”