Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday that she won’t run for reelection in 2024, signaling an end to her more than 30 years in the Senate.
“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.
“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,” Feinstein continued.
“Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives. Each of us was sent here to solve problems,” added the California senator. “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.”
Shortly after her office released her statement, Feinstein told Capitol Hill reporters that it “wasn’t supposed to go out yet.”
She said her decision not to run for reelection stemmed at least in part from her husband passing away in March 2022.
“My term will be up at the end of next year, that seemed to be a good time,” the senator told reporters. “My husband just passed away — it’s been about 6 months — and people keep asking, and I decided I’d answer the question.”
Feinstein’s planned retirement is not particularly surprising. She’s 89, and two Democratic members of Congress have already said they plan to run for her seat, Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) has also hinted she may throw her hat into the Senate race.
“Senator 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,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Over the coming months, I know Dianne will continue to fiercely advocate for women’s rights in all aspects of life and unwaveringly represent the people of California.”
As for the upcoming race to fill Feinstein’s seat, Schumer said he is confident it will remain in Democrats’ hands. He noted how much has changed for women in politics since she entered public office, and how she helped blaze trails.
“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,” he said. “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.”