Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff on Thursday announced he will run for California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s seat in 2024 — though the longtime congresswoman has not yet announced whether she will retire or seek reelection.
Schiff, a prominent Democrat and former House Intelligence Committee chairman, is the latest in what is expected to be a long list of candidates for Feinstein’s seat, which she has held since 1992.
In his announcement, Schiff invoked “MAGA extremists” and what he called a dysfunctional economy for “millions of Americans” as reasons he was entering the race.
Our democracy is at great risk. Because GOP leaders care more about power than anything else.
And because our economy isn’t working for millions of hard working Americans.
We’re in the fight of our lives—a fight I’m ready to lead as California’s next U.S. Senator. pic.twitter.com/H0Pa0EhhMu
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) January 26, 2023
“We’re in the fight of our lives for the future of our country. … And at this moment, we need a fighter for our democracy and our families,” he said.
A few weeks ago, California Democratic Rep. Katie Porter announced that she would also seek Feinstein’s seat. In her announcement video, Porter said it was time for new leadership in the U.S. Senate. (At 49, Porter is nearly half the age of Feinstein, who is 89.)
“I don’t do Congress the way others often do. I use whatever power I have, speak hard truths to the powers that be,” Porter said. “To not just challenge the status quo, but call it out.”
Schiff and Porter’s announcements further highlight questions about Feinstein’s future.
The senator has long been one of the most prominent members of her caucus, but she has more recently sought to dismiss scrutiny of her memory and stamina, given her age and amid multiple news reports that claimed she could be forgetful and confused.
“My mind is fine,” she said in 2018 — echoing that in 2020 comments to The Los Angeles Times: “I don’t feel my cognitive abilities have diminished. … Do I forget something sometimes? Quite possibly.”
“I meet regularly with leaders. I’m not isolated. I see people. My attendance is good. I put in the hours,” she told The San Francisco Chronicle last April.
Feinstein filed paperwork in 2021 to run for reelection.
She told reporters this week that a decision about running in 2024 would be made in the “next couple of months.”
California has a jungle primary where voters choose any candidate, regardless of party, and the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election. That means two Democrats could be pitted against each other during the general election, which is what happened when Feinstein ran for reelection in 2018.