The longtime Democratic leader chose Schiff over Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), who announced a Senate campaign last month, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who is widely expected to join the race.
If Feinstein decides not to run, “I will be supporting House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, who knows well the nexus between a strong democracy and a strong economy,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday. “In his service in the House, he has focused on strengthening our democracy with justice and on building an economy that works for all.”
Local media described the development as “the strongest sign yet that Feinstein will not seek re-election.”
In a statement of his own, Schiff said he is “honored to have earned” Pelosi’s support. He said after Pelosi made clear her stance, 20 current and former members of the California delegation also endorsed his campaign for Senate.
Schiff, whose district includes parts of Los Angeles County, announced his campaign for Senate two days after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) removed him from the House Intelligence Committee over accusations of repeated lying. Schiff called the move “petty, political payback” for his participation in investigations into former President Donald Trump.
Pelosi said the United States is at a “crossroads” leading up to the 2024 election, casting the Democrats as the defenders of democracy and freedom while characterizing Republicans as being beholden to special interests.
“Ever since I supported Adam in his race for Congress in 2000, I have known his commitment to putting the American Dream in place for everyone,” Pelosi said in her statement first given to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Coming from a family of immigrants, Adam has dedicated his life to public service. Every time I have asked Adam to take on the tough fight against extremist forces, he has responded with integrity, strength and success.”
At the age of 89, Feinstein is the Senate’s oldest member, and in recent years her colleagues have raised concerns about her mental fitness. She raised less than $600 in the last three months and has under $10,000 in her campaign account, The Hill reported Wednesday.
In her statement, Pelosi praised Feinstein as an “iconic” senator with a “remarkable legislative record.” Feinstein “has my whole-hearted support” if she does decide to run for re-election, Pelosi added.