Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, made the announcement on Tuesday that she will not seek reelection in 2024, marking a significant turning point in her long and illustrious political career even as the race to succeed her is already well underway.
In a statement, Senator Feinstein said, “I am announcing today that I will not compete for reelection in 2024 but want to accomplish as much for California as I can until the end of next year when my tenure ends.”
A number of Democrats have already launched campaigns in what is shaping up to be a contested primary election to replace Dianne Feinstein in the seat she will vacate in 2024. In January, Representative Adam Schiff made the decision to run for office, joining colleague California Representative Katie Porter, who has also declared her intention to run.
Since she was first elected to the United States Senate in 1992, Dianne Feinstein, now 89 years old, has been a constant presence in California politics for many decades. She has the record for being the female senator who has served the longest in the history of the United States. Throughout her life, Feinstein was successful in shattering several glass ceilings, and her professional life has been highlighted by a number of historic firsts.
The Democrat from California has left her mark on some of the most significant works produced on Capitol Hill in recent memory, such as the federal assault weapons prohibition that was passed in 1994 but has since been overturned and the CIA torture report that was published in 2014.
“Through force of will, she led the fight to get the assault weapons ban passed. Like so many who have been touched by gun violence, that victory was personal for her,” President Joe Biden said in a statement, lauding Feinstein for “her intellect, empathy, character, and drive.”
Biden, who served in the Senate with Feinstein from the time she was elected in 1992 until he resigned in 2009 to become vice president, praised Feinstein for her work on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where both had served as top Democrats. He praised her “proven track record of standing up for people’s rights and fighting to make their lives better.” Biden served in the Senate with Feinstein from the time she was elected in 1992 until he resigned in 2009 to become vice president.
“Everybody said good things so I got sort of teary,” Feinstein told CNN earlier on Tuesday, referring to the Senate Democratic caucus lunch, which was the occasion on which she revealed her decision not to compete for reelection. She announced that she would not be running for reelection by saying that “the time has come.”
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According to senators who were present, when Feinstein addressed her colleagues during the lunch, she described the recent death of her husband as having a significant impact on her. She said that it had been a difficult time for her.
She told CNN she didn’t know yet if she would endorse someone to replace her but that she might at some point. “I think it’s important and we’ll see,” she said.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer heaped accolades on Senator Feinstein, referring to her as “a legend.” “A legend in California as the first woman senator, a legend in this Senate. She was the leader on so many different issues: assault weapons, environment, women’s rights and so much else,” he said.
Although she was a proud native of one of the most famously liberal cities in the country, Feinstein earned a reputation over her years in the Senate as someone willing to work across the aisle with Republicans, which at times sparked pushback and criticism from progressives. Although she was a proud native of one of the most famously liberal cities in the country, she was a native of one of the most famously liberal cities in the country.
Even with a split Congress, it is still possible for us to pass measures that will make people’s lives better, Senator Feinstein stated in a statement that was released on Tuesday. Problem-solving is why each of us was brought here in the first place. This is something I’ve been doing for the past three decades, and it’s also something I intend to continue doing for the upcoming two years. My gratitude goes out to the people of California for giving me the opportunity to serve them.
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