Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced on Tuesday, as expected, that she will not seek another term representing California in the Senate in 2024.
Mrs. Feinstein, 89, said she would spend the next two years working to advance long-held priorities like stricter environmental regulations and gun control.
“Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives. Each of us was sent here to solve problems,” said the California Democrat. “That’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years, and that’s what I plan to do for the next two years.”
A former mayor of San Francisco, Mrs. Feinstein was first elected to represent California in the Senate in 1992.
Since then she’s chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee and the chamber’s prestigious rules panel. Her advancing age, however, blocked her from leading the Senate Judiciary Committee when Democrats retook the majority in 2021.
At the time, Democrats pushed Mrs. Feinstein to step aside in favor of 78-year-old Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Progressive activists argued that Mrs. Feinstein‘s age made her a risky choice to lead the panel as it pushed to remake the federal judiciary after former President Donald Trump’s White House tenure.
“This was a necessary step if Democrats are ever going to meaningfully confront the damage Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have done to the federal judiciary,” said Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice.
Since giving up her top spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mrs. Feinstein has been the subject of retirement gossip.
Even before making her intentions clear, ambitious Democrats in California were already vying for Mrs. Feinstein‘s seat.
Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Katie Porter each announced their campaigns last month. Rep. Barbara Lee is also weighing a run.
All three House lawmakers are seen as staunch liberals, compared with Mrs. Feinstein. She has angered liberals for her defense of the Senate filibuster and willingness to work across the aisle.
“California needs a warrior in the Senate — to stand up to special interests, fight the dangerous imbalance in our economy, and hold so-called leaders like Mitch McConnell accountable for rigging our democracy,” said Mrs. Porter.