Dianne Feinstein Will Retire at the End of Her Term

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Senator Dianne Feinstein, the longest-serving female senator in U.S. history, announced on Tuesday that she will be retiring. The 89-year-old has served three decades in Congress and has more than 50 years of public service under her belt.

“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,” she said in a statement.

Feinstein had been widely expected not to seek reelection, and several candidates had already announced bids for her seat in the weeks before her announcement. Her age and an apparent decline in her cognitive health had been a source of concern for several years. After the 2022 midterms, Feinstein also declined to assume the role of president pro tempore in the new Congress. The position, which would have made her the Senate’s second-highest-ranking member, has historically been fulfilled by the most senior member of the majority party.

Feinstein first came to the Senate in 1992, following a trailblazing political career in Northern California that included serving as mayor of San Francisco for nearly a decade. Thirty years ago, she became one of two women senators; today, there are 25 women serving in the chamber. While she took up gun-safety reform, women’s rights, and LGBTQ+ rights as signature issues, she’s also faced criticism from the progressive wing of the party for pushing against policies including eliminating the filibuster and the Green New Deal. “It would be impossible to write the history of California politics — it would be impossible to write the history of American politics — without acknowledging the trailblazing career of Dianne Feinstein,” said Senator Alex Padilla, the junior member from California.

The senator said she will wait to make an endorsement on the race to succeed her. Due to California’s top-two primary system, it is possible that two Democrats will face each other in the 2024 election. Representative Katie Porter, who flipped a Republican district in the 2018 midterms, and Representative Adam Schiff, who led the first impeachment trial against President Trump, both announced their candidacies last month. Other Democrats, including Representative Barbara Lee, are expected to enter the race soon.

Dianne Feinstein Will Retire at the End of Her Term