California senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, announces she will not seek re-election | Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein , the 89-year-old senator from California who has served in the chamber for three decades, said she will not seek re-election in 2024.

“I am announcing today I will not run for re-election in 2024 but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends,” Feinstein said in a statement.

Her announcement has been long anticipated and comes after several fellow Democrats have already announced plans to run for her seat. The news also comes after years of speculation about the senator’s mental fitness and concerns that Feinstein, who would be 91 by election day, was experiencing memory problems.

In a statement on Tuesday, Feinstein said she will spend the remainder of her term prioritizing legislation to mitigate the effects of severe wildfire and drought in the west, improve access to healthcare and combat gun violence.

She will also focus on “promoting economic growth – especially to position California for what I believe will be the century of the Pacific”, she said. “And I will use my seniority on the appropriations committee to ensure California gets its fair share of funding.”

Fellow California Democrats are already fighting over the rare Senate opening Feinstein’s retirement will create. Among the candidates are Katie Porter – the young, southern California representative known for wielding a whiteboard at House hearings – and Adam Schiff, a liberal darling who led the first impeachment of Donald Trump. Representative Barbara Lee has also reportedly told colleagues she is running.

Still others are expected to launch their candidacy following Feinstein’s announcement. Schiff, who earned the endorsement of the former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, made sure to note that he had first consulted with Feinstein. And Pelosi noted that Feinstein would have retained her support had she chosen to seek re-election.

Feinstein has had a long career in politics, starting in 1960 as a member of the California women’s parole board. She was elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors in 1969 and became mayor in 1978 following the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk.

She was the first woman in the city’s history to hold the position and faced sexism from colleagues and the media throughout her career. She became known for her moderate, centrist politics, winning her Senate seat in 1992.

“Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives. Each of us was sent here to solve problems,” she said. “That’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years, and that’s what I plan to do for the next two years.”

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