Feinstein to Retire at the End of Her Term
WASHINGTON — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced on Tuesday that she will not seek a sixth term and will retire from the Senate at the end of 2024.
Speculation about Feinstein’s future, of course, had been running rampant for months.
At 89, she is the oldest sitting senator, and she appeared to struggle at times this year with her massive workload as she grieved over the loss of her husband, financier Richard Blum.
Still, she remained mum about her intentions until the weekly luncheon with her Democratic colleagues earlier today.
Shortly thereafter, Feinstein posted an announcement on Twitter and a lengthier statement on her Senate website.
“I am announcing today I will not run for reelection in 2024 but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends,” Feinstein’s statement began.
“I campaigned in 2018 on several priorities for California and the nation: preventing and combating wildfires, mitigating the effects of record-setting drought, responding to the homelessness crisis, and ensuring all Americans have access to affordable, high-quality health care. Congress has enacted legislation on all of these topics over the past several years, but more needs to be done — and I will continue these efforts,” she said.
“I also remain focused on passing commonsense legislation to fight the epidemic of gun violence, preserving our pristine lands and promoting economic growth — especially to position California for what I believe will be the century of the Pacific. And I will use my seniority on the Appropriations Committee to ensure California gets its fair share of funding.
“I’m confident we can achieve these goals because we’ve done it before. From the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban to the 2014 CIA torture report, from preserving Lake Tahoe and the Mojave Desert to passing the first significant global warming legislation, from protecting student athletes from abuse to protecting consumers from harmful chemicals, and more recently improving our efforts to combat wildfire and drought, we have improved the lives of millions,” Feinstein said.
“Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives. Each of us was sent here to solve problems. That’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years, and that’s what I plan to do for the next two years. My thanks to the people of California for allowing me to serve them,” she added.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., greeted word of Feinstein’s decision with a lengthy statement of his own, lauding what he called her “historic legacy.”
“Dianne Feinstein’s long, distinguished career stands out for the sheer width and breadth of what she accomplished,” Schumer said. “I first worked with Dianne when I was in the House as we worked to pass the 1994 ban on assault weapons. Throughout her career she has always been pragmatic in her approach to every issue and has our country and her beloved California top of mind.
“Sen. Feinstein broke innumerable glass ceilings and her work has impacted the lives of millions of Americans — and especially Californians — forever. Dianne Feinstein was, and will remain, a California and an American institution,” he continued.
“As the chair of the Intelligence Committee Dianne took on the CIA and fought to protect Congress’ oversight authority during the investigation into U.S. use of torture. As the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee she championed the Violence Against Women Act, and legislation to ensure women have the right to choose what is best for themselves,” he said.
“And maybe her greatest legacy is how she helped support women throughout every step in her career, from the San Francisco City Hall to the halls of the United States Senate. When Dianne came to the Senate, there were only two women senators; today there are 25 serving, all of whom stand in some small part on Dianne’s shoulders,” the Senate majority leader added.
In a tweet, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., congratulated Feinstein “on a spectacular career of ‘firsts’ that blazed trails for women in politics.”
“Your leadership on women’s rights, LGBTQ equality, climate action and gun violence prevention has saved lives and made our beautiful California and America better,” Pelosi said.
Of course, given the widespread speculation surrounding her future, some California Democrats have already decided to run for her seat.
As previously reported by The Well News, both Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff have entered the race in recent weeks.
They are now expected to be joined in short order by Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna.
So far, no Republican has declared for the race.
Feinstein said Tuesday she would hold off on issuing any endorsement in the race, at least for a few months.
Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue