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Dianne Feinstein announces she won't run for Senate reelection in 2024

Sen. Feinstein won't seek reelection
Sen. Dianne Feinstein won't seek reelection; Rep. Angie Craig speaks out on attack 04:31

Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced Tuesday that she won't run for reelection in 2024, clearing the field for a younger generation of leaders. 

Feinstein, 89, will remain in office until her term concludes at the end of next year, she said in a statement. Democratic Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff have already announced they would run for her seat before she officially announced her retirement, and House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said she would support Schiff if Feinstein retired. 

"The time has come," Feinstein told reporters Tuesday. "It's not till the end of next year. So don't hold your breath. And you know, there are times for all things under the sun, and I think that will be the right time."

Feinstein said she remains focused on preventing and combatting wildfires, addressing droughts, responding to the homelessness crisis, ensuring health care access and addressing gun violence. 

Feinstein, who has served California in the U.S. Senate for three decades, was most recently reelected in 2018. She is the oldest current U.S. senator, and the longest-serving female senator in U.S. history. 

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, speaks during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2020. Photographer: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives," Feinstein said in a statement Tuesday. "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."

In an off-camera exchange with reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday after the statement was released,  Feinstein was asked about her announcement to not seek reelection. 

"I haven't made that decision," she told reporters. "I haven't released anything."

A staffer jumped in and corrected her, saying, "Senator, we put out the statement." 

Feinstein appeared surprised and responded, "You put out the statement?" 

"We put out the statement," the staffer responded. 

"I didn't know they put it out," Feinstein said. 

Feinstein told CBS News her husband's death last year affected her decision. 

Last year, Feinstein told the Washington Post she would decline to run for Senate president pro tempore, then the next month, appeared to forget that she had declined the opportunity.

In her 30 years in the Senate, Feinstein has served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, fought for LGBTQ+ rights and the legalization of gay marriage, and focused on improving the Golden State's water infrastructure. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that Feinstein's "long, distinguished career stands out for the sheer width and breadth of what she accomplished."

"She broke innumerable glass ceilings," Schumer wrote. "Her work has impacted the lives of millions of Americans—especially Californians. She's a California and an American institution."

Sen. Alex Padilla, the junior senator from California, told reporters Tuesday, "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 Senator Dianne Feinstein." 

Feinstein's retirement announcement comes amid stories citing unnamed Democratic colleagues questioning whether the 89-year-old has the mental fitness to continue to serve. After one such article in the San Francisco Chronicle last year, Feinstein issued a statement saying she is "an effective representative for 40 million Californians, and the record shows that I am."  

— Nikole Killion and Jack Turman contributed to this report 

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