Christina Pascucci, TV Anchor, Is Running for Senate in California

The longtime reporter and anchor at KTLA and Fox 11 in Los Angeles also announced she’s pregnant.

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Christina Pascucci, a veteran television news reporter in Los Angeles, launched a longshot campaign for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat on Wednesday, further plunging one of the nation’s most competitive and closely watched primaries deeper into uncertain territory.

Pascucci, a first-time candidate who spent more than a decade at KTLA-TV and Fox 11, joins a contest that’s been rocked in recent weeks by Feinstein’s death and California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointment of Democrat Laphonza Butler, a labor leader and consultant who is nearing an announcement about her own campaign. Further scrambling the dynamic of the March primary is the recent entry of Republican Steve Garvey, the former Los Angeles Dodgers all-star, who is trying to vault ahead of a Democrat and into the fall 2024 runoff.

In an exclusive interview with POLITICO to announce her candidacy, Pascucci outlined a run as a moderate consensus builder in a field of bomb-throwing partisans. The 38-year-old Democrat described herself as a “truth-seeker” who would focus on legislating, adding she would apply the same approach she did to newsgathering.

“I’ve been covering the most pressing issues of California for the past 15 years and watching this race closely, as well as covering it and interviewing some of the candidates,” Pascucci said in the interview Tuesday. “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 and her team also said she would work to appeal to Latinos and other voters who haven’t been swayed by a trio of far better-known Democrats in the race, Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee. Schiff and Porter have been atop the field in fundraising and polling for months, trading leads that have hovered in the high teens, but not breaking away.

A Los Angeles resident and San Fernando Valley native who lives with her husband, Pascucci also revealed in the interview that she will be starting the Senate race while she’s about 18 weeks pregnant with their first child — and that their baby was a decisive factor in her mounting the uphill statewide run.

“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,” she said.

Pascucci didn’t downplay the difficulty of climbing into the top two by Super Tuesday. She leaned hard into her adventuring background and outsider status as possible areas of appeal. She’s a licensed pilot, fluent Spanish speaker and has traveled to all seven continents and more than 100 countries to expose the shark-finning industry, report from warzones and interview the Dalai Lama at his palace in India. Closer to home, her reporting dove into wasteful water use policies of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

She suggested Democrats have shied away from talking about “the humanitarian crisis happening at our border” out of fear of running afoul of their progressive base and giving ammunition to the hard right, and pledged to fight against the “disinformation warfare” that’s being waged around immigration and more broadly. Pascucci named the late Feinstein and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah as models for the role of senator, keying in on yellow-cornered themes like bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle to make progress. She also discussed growing up with conservative Republican parents.

“I spent my life and my upbringing learning to speak the language of people who disagree with me,” she said. “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.”

California statewide races are exorbitantly expensive, and it generally takes years for politicians to establish their names and bonafides with voters. While Butler, a former leader with the Service Employees International Union, would count on support from her labor connections and relationships with Democratic insiders, Pascucci said whether the interim senator runs had no impact on her own decision.

She left her job at Fox 11 on Tuesday, where she reported and anchored, and said her exposure to donors and celebrity supporters from her time in the news business and in her philanthropic endeavors would translate into financial and electoral backing.

“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 said. “I am confident based on all the conversations I have had that I have the resources I need to win this race.”

Pressed on how little time she has to make an imprint in the March primary, Pascucci reiterated she wouldn’t have risked so much to run “if I didn’t see winning as a possibility.”

“People will have plenty to say — especially people who are well-versed in politics — about what can or can’t be done,” she added. “But my campaign is a campaign of possibility, of having people choose between how things have been done or what they can be. And I believe this message will resonate deeply.”

Pascucci didn’t delve deeply into policy, but said in addition to the border and immigration, she wants to focus on education and family support like childcare and parental leave policies. She pointed to a close family member who suffers from mental health issues and addiction and said she’s drawn career inspiration from her proximity to those issues.

And she pledged a different kind of campaign: “My approach to media is different than maybe what’s been done traditionally,” she said.

The campaign is helmed by Bill Burton, the Democratic strategist and Obama-world veteran. Burton began the cycle working with Democratic Senate candidate Lexi Reese, but separated from the campaign earlier in the year. He pointed to Pascucci’s varied life experiences and outsider status to politics as an edge.

Click here to read the full article in Politico


  1. Larry Bowler says

    She may be pretty, pregnant and well spoken…BUT…She’s still a Democrat, thus, part of the problems of California.

  2. That’s what I said about Jerry Brown in the mid-70s. He lied as well.

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