California senator Dianne Feinstein announced Tuesday that she will not run for reelection next year, clearing the way for what is expected to be a hotly contested Democratic primary.
"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 89-year-old Feinstein said in a statement.
California Reps. Katie Porter (D.) and Adam Schiff (D). have already announced their intention to run for Feinstein’s seat in 2024. Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.) has already endorsed Schiff. Rep. Barbara Lee (D.) is also expected to make a bid for the seat, potentially posing a problem for Porter, who said last week that a black woman should replace Feinstein, California's longest-serving senator.
Schiff praised Feinstein on Twitter following the announcement, calling her "one of the finest legislators we've ever known." Porter also tweeted in praise of Feinstein, noting that "she created a path for women in politics that I am proud to follow."
Feinstein has faced mounting pressure to step down in recent months. The San Francisco Chronicle reported in April that three Democratic senators and a group of former Feinstein staffers said the senator was too cognitively impaired to serve out her term.
Questions about her mental fortitude were only the latest setback for Feinstein, who has lately fallen out of favor with progressive Democrats. Liberals slammed Feinstein for embracing Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) after the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. In Jan. 2021, San Francisco’s Board of Education voted to remove Feinstein's name from a city elementary school.
Feinstein was elected mayor of San Francisco in 1978, following the double murder of her predecessor, Mayor George Moscone, and city supervisor Harvey Milk. She rose to prominence thereafter as a stalwart of the city’s Democratic machine, which also produced Pelosi, Vice President Kamala Harris, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D.).
Update 2:59 p.m.: This piece has been updated with additional information.