Skip to Main Content

Lexi Reese Ends Campaign for California Senate Seat

November, 28, 2023 – A Statement from Lexi Reese


With a heavy heart, I am pulling out of the U.S. Senate race.


The reason? Money.


We’ve raised approximately $2 million. Which sounds like a lot of money until you compare it with the top competitors in the Senate race who have been serving in the House of Representatives for a collective 50+ years. Adam Schiff entered this race in October with $32 million in the bank. Katie Porter had $12 million. And Barbara Lee had $1.3 million (source: here).


$2 million is just not enough to run a state-wide campaign. As someone outside the system, voters don’t know who I am and what I stand for.  And even $2 million in paid advertising can’t change that, let alone run the kind of personal, grassroots campaign I think voters deserve.


Career politicians have institutional, press, and Party support that is very difficult to replicate as an outsider.


This worries me — deeply — because our Legislative Branch, staffed with mostly career politicians and former lawyers, has been consistently behind on major issues that are now existential threats: climate instability, gun violence, economic inequality, housing, homelessness, the rights of women/BIPOC/LGBTQ+/children, and technology that continues to progress unchecked and unregulated.  


I do not foresee better outcomes without more diverse and experienced folks tackling these issues from different angles.  Socioeconomic, race, gender perspectives make a huge impact in the way our government works – so does diversity of skill-set.  It is imperative that the Legislature attract more technologists, operators, doctors, engineers, scientists to take on the breadth of issues affecting Americans today. 


It will be impossible to get more representation in Congress if we do not enact term limits. We need open seats and campaign finance reform so the cost to enter is not insurmountable for most people. My husband and I self-funded $500k of our campaign, which is a privilege I recognize most people do not have. It was also not nearly enough. 


We also need scorecards that define what Congress needs to do for Americans, deadlines for accountability, and standards for behavior. The in-fighting between Parties and people is unacceptable. 


A great mentor of mine says that a leader defines reality and gives hope. Here is how I might summarize this in both California and the country.


There’s the reality: families struggling to keep up with costs, kids falling behind, the threat of guns and climate change going unchecked. 


But there’s also hope.


I believe that ending financial insecurity and improving quality of life for everyone can unblock families, unlock the economy, and secure democracy.


Democrats should stop focusing on Trump the human or corporations as evil-doers and instead consider the insight that he and Steve Bannon uncovered: 70% of people feel the “system” is rigged against them. That’s because while nearly everyone is working harder and longer than ever, they are still barely scraping by. And they continue to see people in Congress failing to deliver without consequence.  It’s no wonder only 2 in 10 people trust the government. 


More and more people think “I’m being held to standards in my job for both what I do and how I do it that are so much higher than the standards folks in Congress have to meet.” 


Trumpians take this insight and channel it into anger, hate, fear.


What if Democrats took it and channeled it into real action — real, operational rigor devoted to inclusive prosperity? We could grow our economy right alongside people’s personal security.  


What’s next?


I am immensely grateful to our team and our community of supporters for helping us challenge the status quo with an alternative to politics as usual.  There are very few start-ups in electoral politics at a Federal level (there should be more – choices help force better outcomes), but we found millions of California voters who aligned with our message of bringing humanity and excellence to government. They want what we want: results.  No more thoughts and prayers. No more missing the mark on the basics (like a functional budget or leaders that can navigate their differences respectfully).


The full constellation of people on the Lexi Reese for Senate team hustled with head, heart, and values (stay tuned for links to folks who will be looking for a new gig – all of whom I recommend without hesitation). I am proud of what we did. I’m even more proud of how we did it. And I am blown away by the community leaders and public service leaders we have met along the way. 


While the financial reality of the Senate run has prompted me to stop competing for this Seat, we will continue to focus on this question:


What do we want to be when we grow up? As a State, a Nation, and as Human Beings.


I got into this race to build a safer world for our kids. I feel stronger than ever that we need to think in a much bigger, bolder way about how we make life liveable. That starts with being willing to admit that California and our country as a whole is just not liveable for many people. And the things we thought would help aren’t working. So we need more representative, energetic, creative people trying new things to get to a better place.  


Potential is everywhere. But opportunity is not. And I truly believe that with the right leaders, we can change that. 


I was running for US Senate on behalf of those who wanted to see a future where everyone can thrive. And I hope to find new ways to serve that mission. But in the meantime, I’ll be sharing more ideas, people, and movements that are going all out for that future. Because I know we can build it. Together.  


Our kids and the generations from whom we’re borrowing this planet deserve that.