Not many organizations track the number of single moms in Congress, but Rep. Katie Porter is believed to be one of only a few. (Credit: Katie Porter, Facebook)

One of the most vocal single mothers in Congress lost her bid this week for a Senate seat. And while losses happen all the time, this is a loss many working single moms will mourn.

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter came in third place during the political race in California’s nonpartisan primary on Wednesday, losing against Rep. Adam Schiff and Republican former baseball star Steve Garvey. The two men will compete in November to secure the seat previously occupied by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of California’s first two female senators who died last year at age 90. 

Aside from Porter coming in third place against two dozen candidates — which is not as easy as it seems — her career reflects even more impressive efforts to help working, single mothers just like herself. Again, not easy. On top of her serving duties, Porter cares for three children each in high school, middle school and elementary school. 

In a press conference after her primary loss, Porter shared how she used to think candidates running for office were polished, and lived “more perfect lives.” Her thinking changed when a person close to her said, “As a woman, if you wait your turn, you won’t get one,” Porter said.

“And what I found out over the last six years is that by and large that is true,” Porter added. “There are not a lot of people in Congress who are single moms like me. There aren’t many of us who rely on our paycheck to make ends meet in Congress — who go to the grocery store and understand how much a loaf of bread costs.”

Holding degrees from both Harvard and Yale, Porter first entered the political world in 2018 after being elected alongside former California Rep. Harley Rouda to represent districts within Orange County. Porter has represented California’s 47th district since last year and previously represented the state’s 45th District from 2019 to 2023. 

During her time in Congress, Porter introduced bipartisan legislation in 2021 to help families with expensive childcare costs, including the Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act and the Fair Access for Individuals to Receive Leave Act. The median annual cost for an infant at a childcare center in Orange County is $19,097, according to Kids Data

Following Mother’s Day last year, Porter reintroduced the Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening (BABES) Enhancement Act, which would help mothers more easily pass through TSA checkpoints when traveling with breast milk and baby formula. She also proposed the No Surprise Bills for News Moms Act, which would simplify the insurance process for newborn babies.

Not many organizations track the number of single moms in Congress, but Porter is believed to be one of only a few (another includes Rep. Monica De La Cruz, a Texas Republican). She has certainly been the most vocal, even appearing on ABC’s The View to talk about motherhood and her children calling her “Congress mom.”

The Story Exchange reached out to Porter’s office for comment but did not immediately hear back.

After her recent loss, Porter will continue to serve in Congress until January 2025. While her time in Congress is coming to an end, Porter has an important message for her supporters, including working moms.

“Take my word for it: I’ll never stop fighting for you,” she said in a tweet.