Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is 87 years old and who was elected to her current six-year term in 2018, responded recently to rumors that she may step down before this term is out. “There’s nothing to it,” she said.
Feinstein has a long and illustrious political career. She was the Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to ’88, an eventful period that began with the assassination of her predecessor, George Moscone, and included defeating a recall attempt in ’84.
Feinstein was first elected to the US Senate in 1992, and she won her first full term two years later. She is now the oldest sitting US Senator.
In terms of the progressive/moderate split in the Democratic Party, Feinstein is usually on the moderate side. For example, she has supported Obamacare but has opposed the single-payer health plans favored by progressives.
The Thing to Know:
Late last year, The New Yorker ran a prominent article with the title, “Dianne Feinstein’s Missteps Raise a Painful Question Among Senate Democrats.” The author, Jane Meyer, contended that the Senator was suffering from age-related cognitive issues. The story served as the opening gun in a concerted effort to ease Feinstein out the Senate door, perhaps to be replaced by someone younger (and more progressive). If that was in fact the goal, it seems by now to have failed.