Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said in a statement on Tuesday that she would not seek re-election.Credit…Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times
For generations, Dianne Feinstein has been an iconic American political figure.
She was born in San Francisco in 1933, the same year construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge. She was the first female mayor of the City by the Bay; a longtime Democratic power broker who pushed for environmental protections and gun control; and the longest serving senator ever to represent California.
On Tuesday, Feinstein, 89, announced she would not seek re-election to the Senate next year but would finish out her term, which ends in 2024. Speaking to reporters, she explained her decision this way: “There are times for all things under the sun, and I think that will be the right time.”
To mark her announcement, The New York Times published a guide to nine key moments in Feinstein’s career, including her 1992 victory to become California’s first female senator and her role in the 2020 Supreme Court hearings for Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Though critics have questioned her fitness for office in recent years, friends said she made the decision to end this chapter of her career on her own timetable.
“She has a level of integrity that’s unusual — she really thinks about the merits, more than most,” Jerry Brown, California’s former governor, told my colleague Shawn Hubler. “She gives her all to the job. And I think it has been difficult for her to come to the end.”
Feinstein’s announcement clears the way for what is expected to be a costly and competitive race for the seat she has held for three decades. (California’s other Senate seat is filled by Alex Padilla, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to replace Vice President Kamala Harris and then won re-election in November.)
The Republican field isn’t yet clear, but even before this week, some Democrats had already announced that they would be running for Feinstein’s seat in 2024.
Representative Katie Porter, who flipped a previously Republican district in Orange County in 2018, was the first to announce her campaign last month. Representative Adam B. Schiff, the manager of President Donald J. Trump’s first impeachment trial, who represents an eastern swath of the Los Angeles region, entered the race a couple of weeks later. Representative Barbara Lee, a progressive stalwart from Oakland who was the sole lawmaker in Congress to vote against invading Afghanistan, is expected to announce her candidacy before the end of the month.
More on California
- A Settlement: San Mateo County has agreed to pay $4.5 million to the family of a Black man who died in 2018 after a deputy used a Taser on him during a struggle that began when officers saw him jaywalking.
- Covid State of Emergency: The state’s coronavirus emergency declaration, which gave Gov. Gavin Newsom broad powers to slow the spread of the virus, is set to expire on Feb. 28.
- In the Wake of Tragedy: California is reeling after back-to-back mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.
- Medical Misinformation: A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a new law allowing regulators to punish doctors for spreading false or misleading information about Covid-19.
As my colleague Jazmine Ulloa writes, the race raises urgent questions for California Democrats: Whose moment is it? In which direction should the party head?
Porter, Schiff and Lee would all be further left than Feinstein. And Schiff, 62, or Porter, 49, would represent a long-awaited break in a generational logjam, as well as a change in regional power. Until recently, the state’s most powerful politicians have typically emerged from the Bay Area.
But given California’s demographic shifts, some Democrats believe the state’s next senator should also capture its growing racial and ethnic diversity. Lee is Black, and there are currently no Black women in the Senate. Only two — Harris and Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois — have ever served in the chamber’s 250-year history.
Feinstein said Tuesday she would hold off on issuing any endorsement in the race, at least for a few months.
Read the rest of Jazmine’s article.
The rest of the news
Universal basic income: A slew of government and private pilot programs are making direct monthly payments to 12,000 low-income Californians, raising questions about the state’s current welfare program, CalMatters reports.
Same-sex marriage: California is seeking to enshrine same-sex marriage in the state’s Constitution, The Associated Press reports.
Powerball winner: More than three months after someone bought the winning ticket for a record $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot, California Lottery officials announced the winner’s name on Tuesday.
Fraudulent payments: Supervisors at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s security division bolstered their paychecks by working regular hours at overtime rates, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Gustavo Dudamel: The maestro, whose fame transcends classical music, finds himself at a crossroads — not only leaving Los Angeles, but also moving into a new phase of his career. “I’m not a young conductor anymore,” he said.
Plane-bus collision: Five people were injured Friday night after an American Airlines plane struck a shuttle bus at Los Angeles International Airport.
Teaching pay raises: Teachers in Fresno County’s largest K-12 districts received above-average pay raises last school year but still lag behind California’s average teacher salary, The Fresno Bee reports.
Gender discrimination: Shake Shack will pay $20,000 to a former employee at its Oakland location who said he was misgendered by co-workers and did not receive support from management when he reported it, The Los Angeles Times reports.
What we’re eating
Easy chicken recipes for busy weeknights.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from J.H. Carvala:
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
One place in California made Travel & Leisure’s list of 50 places to visit around the world in 2023: San Luis Obispo County.
The magazine recommends spending the day at a winery, hiking along the coast and stopping by a monarch butterfly reserve before the butterflies leave at the end of the month. Happy traveling.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.
Briana Scalia and Isabella Grullón Paz contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.