As we previously reported, rumors have swirled for well over two years now that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) mental health has been steadily deteriorating, with even some in the California Democratic delegation questioning her ability to continue to serve. It’s gotten to the point that even the liberally biased San Francisco Chronicle weighs in with periodic updates and status reports on Feinstein, who is 89, as they did in November.
Along with the rumors about her alleged mental decline have come others, like on whether or not she intends to serve out the remainder of her term and if so, whether she will run for reelection in 2024.
In an interview with the L.A. Times Monday, Feinstein put the kibosh on the “early retirement” rumors, telling them she has every intention of completing her current term in office. As for 2024 and where she is on that, she says she hasn’t decided yet but will “probably” announce her future plans sometime in the spring:
In a brief interview Monday evening, Feinstein said she was committed and looking forward to finishing this term.
“Yes. Absolutely,” she said. “There’s still two years, you know. A lot can happen in two years.”
Feinstein added that a decision on whether she will run again in 2024 will come “probably by spring.”
A spokesman followed up with a statement shortly after: “The senator has no plans to step down and will announce her plans for 2024 at the appropriate time.”
The news that Feinstein plans to serve out her current term has to be a blow to Rep. Adam Schiff, who not only will soon be kicked off his leadership perch in the House but who has also reportedly been considering a 2024 run for DiFi’s seat. He would unquestionably benefit from being appointed to the seat ahead of time by Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom in the event Feinstein retired before her term was up, but with DiFi’s announcement, that’s not going to happen.
Should Feinstein decide not to run in 2024, a number of high-profile Democrat members of Congress in addition to Schiff are also said to be putting out feelers, including Reps. Katie Porter and Ro Khanna, the latter of who it was recently revealed was the only known Democrat lawmaker to have expressed his objections to the old Twitter regime’s efforts to stifle conservative voices.
As Politico pointed out in a write-up on the “shadow” campaign to succeed DiFi, the moves behind the scenes by those same Democrats “[marks] the incipient stages of a fierce fight between California Democrats for a seat that has not been open for a generation.”
2024 could be the year we see California Democrats openly splinter much in the way New York Democrats did earlier this year after court-ordered redistricting maps pitted powerful ones against one another.
Why? Because in addition to the emerging battle for DiFi’s seat, Newsom is reportedly already connecting with national Democratic campaign consultants and big money donors about a possible 2024 run for president in the event Joe Biden decides not to run again.
If that happens, it would pit him against Vice President Kamala Harris, a long-term political ally in California for who Newsom has gone to bat on numerous occasions (and vice versa). Though California is a solidly blue state, the Democrat infighting that would be on display regarding the DiFi seat and the Democratic presidential primary would be popcorn-worthy events worth watching and, of course, mocking along the way.
It’s too soon to tell how things will ultimately shake out, but as always, stay tuned…