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Sen. Dianne Feinstein announces she will not run for re-election in 2024

Sen. Dianne Feinstein announces she will not run for re-election in 2024
Sen. Dianne Feinstein announces she will not run for re-election in 2024 00:34

WASHINGTON – After serving in the United States Senate for more than three decades, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California announced Tuesday that she will not run for re-election in 2024.

"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," the senator said in a statement.

"Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives. 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."

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) testifies during a hearing before the Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Subcommittee of Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee July 24, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  Alex Wong/Getty Images  

"Senator Feinstein has been a powerful champion for California and California values on the national stage for three decades - changing lives across our state and the nation for the better while opening doors for generations for women leaders," said California Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement. "Her lifetime of service and leadership has made out country fairer, safer and stronger, and I am proud to call her a mentor and a friend. California and the nation owe Senator Feinstein a deep debt of gratitude."

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Feinstein's upcoming retirement will mark the end of a decades-long career in politics, which began on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969.

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She first gained national prominence in the dark hours following the 1978 City Hall assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Feinstein succeeded Moscone as interim mayor and then became the first woman elected to serve in that position.

Feinstein's three-decade run in the Senate began after she won a 1992 special election to fill the seat vacated by Pete Wilson, who was elected governor of California in 1990. She was subsequently re-elected in 1994, 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2018.

In November 2022, Feinstein eclipsed former Sen. Barbara Mikulski for the historic distinction of being the longest-serving woman ever in the U.S. Senate.

"It's an incredible honor to become the longest-serving woman senator in our nation's history, and I'm forever grateful to the people of California who sent me here to represent them," she said in a news release at the time.

However, 2022 was also the year she lost her 86-year-old husband, Richard Blum, to a long battle with cancer.

In her announcement, Feinstein indicated she would continue to focus during the remainder of her term on the issues she campaigned on, including the effects of climate change, homelessness, health care, and the scourge of gun violence.

"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," said Feinstein. "I also remain focused on passing commonsense legislation to fight the epidemic of gun violence, preserving our pristine lands and promoting economic growth - especially to position California for what I believe will be the century of the Pacific. And I will use my seniority on the Appropriations Committee to ensure California gets its fair share of funding.

"I'm confident we can achieve these goals because we've done it before. From the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban to the 2014 CIA torture report, from preserving Lake Tahoe and the Mojave Desert to passing the first significant global warming legislation, from protecting student athletes from abuse to protecting consumers from harmful chemicals, and more recently improving our efforts to combat wildfire and drought, we have improved the lives of millions.

The fight for the safely Democratic seat held by Feinstein, who at 89 is the oldest member of Congress, is shaping up as a marquee match-up between nationally known rivals and is likely to become one of the most expensive Senate races in the country next year.

Interview: Looking at the contenders to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein 04:48

On Saturday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, who rose to prominence as the lead prosecutor in former President Donald Trump's first impeachment trial, gathered hundreds of supporters in a union hall parking lot for a rally in his hometown of Burbank, California, where he implored the cheering crowd, "Let's go win this thing."

Schiff, who announced his candidacy last month, said he was running for Senate after two decades in Congress "to build an economy that works for everyone, a democracy that will last for all time and a planet that doesn't melt beneath our feet."

A day earlier, Democratic U.S. Rep. Katie Porter brought her Senate campaign to Los Angeles, where she met with local leaders to discuss pollution in lower-income neighborhoods. She said such areas are often overlooked in Washington and Sacramento, where residents' complaints about unhealthy conditions go unheard.

Porter, a leader in Congress' progressive wing, built a reputation for her tough questioning of CEOs and other witnesses at congressional hearings - often using a whiteboard to break down information.

Other potential contenders for the seat include Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. If she runs and is elected, Lee would be the only Black woman in the Senate.

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