Rep. Katie Porter says she regrets claiming that billionaires tried to “rig” the California Senate primary after she failed to advance to the general election.

“Obviously I wish I’d chosen a different word,” said Porter, D-Calif., on an episode of “Pod Save America” on Tuesday.

“At no time and in no way would I ever suggest that there’s anything other than a careful, thoughtful, amazing election system that actually should be the model for a lot of the country, in my opinion,” she added.

A day after the March 5 primary, Porter thanked her supporters who “voted to shake up the status quo in Washington,” before igniting controversy by implying the election was rigged.

“Because of you, we had the establishment running scared — withstanding 3 to 1 in TV spending and an onslaught of billionaires spending millions to rig this election,” she said in a post to X.

Porter’s choice of words were quickly compared to those of former President Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed since the 2020 election that the contest was rigged and contained widespread election fraud.

On Tuesday’s podcast, Porter argued that a point lost in the controversy over her comments was that “big money does influence our elections.”

“Outcomes are manipulated and distorted when you have people coming in spending millions and millions of dollars at the last minute, and that money is not disclosed until after the election,” she said.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who is advancing to November’s runoff election in the Senate race, addressed Porter’s immediate post-election comments in a March 10 interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“That term ‘rigged,’ though, is a very loaded term in the era of Trump. It connotes fraud or ballot-stuffing, false claims like those of Donald Trump,” Schiff said. “And I think what’s remarkable is Democrats very quickly rallied to say, ‘No, we don’t use that language. The election was legitimate.’ And this is a sharp contrast to how the Republican Party treats allegations of rigged elections, which is they’ve gone along with them.”

Schiff and Republican Steve Garvey will face off in November for the Senate seat previously occupied by longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who said in February of last year that she would retire at the end of 2024. She later died in September.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, appointed Laphonza Butler to serve out the remainder of Feinstein’s term, and Butler has said she would not run in 2024.

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