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.