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Dianne Feinstein To Run For Fifth Term

California Senator Dianne Feinstein announced yesterday that she will run for a fifth term in 2018, ending months of speculation about her political future:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced on Monday morning that she will run for reelection in 2018.

“I am running for reelection to the Senate. Lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I’m all in!” Feinstein said in a tweet.

Feinstein, who is 84, has been tight-lipped for months over whether she would seek a fifth term.

Asked on Sunday if she would run, she declined to answer, telling NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she was “close” to a decision.

“You are going to find out about that very shortly,” Feinstein said. But she appeared to hint that she was preparing to announce a decision to seek reelection.

Asked about a poll that half of California voters don’t think she should run, she added: ”Oh look. There are polls and then there are polls.”

“I’ve got things to fight for. I’m in a position where I can be effective, and hopefully that means something to California,” she said.

A Public Policy Institute of California survey released late last month found that roughly half of voters believe Feinstein shouldn’t seek another term.

Feinstein has come under fire from liberals who argue she hasn’t done enough to block President Trump’s nominees as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She also got pushback during a town hall earlier this year when she noted that she doesn’t support a government-run health-care system, often known as single-payer.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), while stressing that he had no plans to run against Feinstein, said she is “out of touch with the grassroots of our party on economic policy and foreign policy.”

“The fact that the establishment is rallying around her re-election shows that DC insiders continue to privilege protecting one of their own over the voters’ concerns,” Khanna said.

Feinstein could face a primary challenge in the race, which political handicappers rank as solidly Democratic. Joseph Sanberg, a financial entrepreneur, and Kevin de León, California’s state senate president pro tem, have both been floated as potential challengers.

Environmental activist Tom Steyer, who has been coy about his 2018 plans, also told the Los Angeles Times that he was “not ruling anything out” in the wake of Feinstein’s announcement that she would run for reelection.

Most likely, Feinstein will be re-elected with relative ease. Nothwithstanding the fact that some California Democrats on the left have expressed doubts about her in recent years, Feinstein remains popular statewide and within the party, and her fundraising ability would make it hard for any other Democrat to seriously challenge her. California Republicans, meanwhile, remain as weak as they’ve been for the past two decades and are unlikely to bounce back sufficiently to take on someone like Feinstein, especially for a midterm election in a state that President Trump lost by several million votes last year. At the same time, though, it is worth noting that Feinstein will be nearly 86 years old by Election Day 2018, and would be well into her early 90s at the end of a fifth term, at which point she will have held her seat for nearly thirty years.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. John Peabody says:

    It was pointed out (at another site) with amusement that the previous Twitter post before this announcement was made in 2013.

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  2. al-Ameda says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Dianne Feinstein, she is an excellent senator, that said ….

    It should be of great concern to Democrats that there is not someone else, someone about 40 years younger, who is ready to run for the senate right now. Who? Gavin Newsome? Whatever. Adam Schiff? Sounds very very good to me.

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  3. Hal_10000 says:

    Of course she’s running. There are still some civil liberties out there she hasn’t crushed.

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  4. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: As opposed to the banner carriers on the opposing side, who are staunch defenders of your civil liberties?

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  5. Franklin says:

    Is she coming for our guns AGAIN? Geez, she’s like a zombie.

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  6. Hal_10000 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Hmm. Looking over my comment to see where I said the other side was good on civil liberties.

    Still looking.

    Still looking.

    GOP authoritarianism does not make Feinstein’s authoritarianism OK. She’s a big supporter of the surveillance state, a big proponent of the War on Drugs and the War on Sex Work, has threatened universities if they don’t ban BDS movements, is an enemy of free speech. She has no business being in the Senate when there are literally ten million Democrats in California who would be better.

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  7. James Pearce says:

    at which point she will have held her seat for nearly thirty years.

    Just remember, there is no Great Stagnation.

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  8. al-Ameda says:

    @Hal_10000:

    She has no business being in the Senate when there are literally ten million Democrats in California who would be better.

    What you’re smoking, I’ll have some of that.

    Seriously though, my only substantive complaint, and perhaps it’s not a complaint rather a concern, is her age. Where is the next generation, the next person who can lock up this seat for the next 18 to 24 years?

    Based on what I’ve seen over the past 8 months Adam Schiff looks really good. There are a few others but not as many as you seem to think there are.

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  9. JohnMcC says:

    My stance is that of a fairly standard issue left-Democrat I don’t have too many objections to Ms Feinstein other than some concern voiced by our friend Hal along the civil liberty/privacy spectrum.
    But it does seem to me that CA has lots of dynamic young Dems (I am kind of a fan of AG Beccerra). I’m not as old as the Senator but close. At some point the best thing to do is figure out how to retire gracefully.

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  10. Andre Kenji says:

    Exactly fifteen years ago Dianne Feinstein(And }Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry) voted for the War in Iraq.

    https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=107&session=2&vote=00237

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  11. al-Ameda says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Exactly fifteen years ago Dianne Feinstein(And }Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry) voted for the War in Iraq.

    Notwithstanding the fact that the Bush Administration lied about the intelligence that was to support their case for going to war, not withstanding THAT, one could make a case that anyone who voted for that war should not be in the Senate now.

    But … reality.

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  12. gVOR08 says:

    @al-Ameda: Yeah. And I hope no one responds that bad intelligence impelled W to war. The bad intelligence was driven by the decision to go to war, not the other way around. Fifteen years ago it looked like political suicide to oppose giving W the option to go to war. Nobody knew he’d screw up that bad after the war.

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  13. Tyrell says:

    @Hal_10000: War on drugs: have you heard of the increasing opioid crisis?
    War on sex work? What on earth?
    This is another huge justification of term limits.

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