Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) won’t be up for re-election until 2024, but she has seemingly already filed paperwork indicating she might run again.
The 87-year-old U.S. Democrat from California filed the initial re-election paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last week, L.A. Magazine reported.
A Feinstein rep reached out to L.A. Magazine to clarify what the FEC filings allegedly mean. “To be clear, Senator Feinstein has had a campaign committee since she took office, as all senators must. In order to keep this account active, the senator has to maintain filings with the FEC. Yesterday’s filings merely reflected an updated address,” the rep said. They also claimed that they didn’t have any “announcement” regarding a 2024 Feinstein run.
Feinstein’s already the oldest senator in the chamber. She would be 91 if re-elected, and 97 if she serves out her full six-year term following a 2024 victory.
But there have been reports that Feinstein is suffering from “cognitive decline,” SF Gate reported.
For instance, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) allegedly had to ask Feinstein twice to step down from her role as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee because she forgot the first conversation, The New Yorker reported in December.
That article cites unnamed sources close to Feinstein and the Senate who say “her short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic,” and that her “staff has said that sometimes she seems herself, and other times unreachable.”
The article also cites an aide to another Democratic senator who said, “She’s an incredibly effective human being, but there’s definitely been deterioration in the last year. She’s in a very different mode now.”
The magazine also cited a hearing on Nov. 17 in which Feinstein asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey whether his company was doing enough to stem the spread of disinformation.
“It was a good question. Feinstein seemed sharp and focused. For decades, she has been the epitome of a female trailblazer in Washington, always hyper-prepared,” wrote the New Yorker. “But this time, after Dorsey responded, Feinstein asked him the same question again, reading it word for word, along with the Trump tweet. Her inflection was eerily identical. Feinstein looked and sounded just as authoritative, seemingly registering no awareness that she was repeating herself verbatim. Dorsey graciously answered the question all over again.”
Others have chimed in. “It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to retire,” wrote UC Irvine law professor and CNN contributor Rick Hasen. “She did some great work in Senate. But it’s been clear for last few years that her cognitive decline is serious. Let Gov. Newsom appoint someone who can fully represent CA’s interests until election.”
Crucial reporting from @JaneMayerNYer.
It's time for Sen. Feinstein to retire. She did some great work in Senate. But it's been clear for last few years that her cognitive decline is serious.
Let Gov. Newsom appoint someone who can fully represent CA's interests until election. https://t.co/z0akATcA2j
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) December 10, 2020
Feinstein did in fact step down from her post on the Senate Judiciary Committee in late November after facing criticism for her handling of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation. But others on social media say it’s time for her to retire for good.
“Did anyone else catch Dianne Feinstein repeating her question to Jack Dorsey of Twitter at the hearing today? Within 2 minutes she asked same question twice. Maybe it’s time to pass the baton? She’s accomplished a lot for the Democratic Party over the years, but…” wrote one person on Twitter.
Did anyone else catch Dianne Feinstein repeating her question to Jack Dorsey of Twitter at the hearing today?
— Texan (@Texan_21C) November 17, 2020
“Dianne Feinstein should step down. California has a goldmine full of impressive political talent, it’s time for her to pass the torch. If she runs again, I will work the campaign of whoever primaries her, and ensure she’s defeated,” wrote another.
Dianne Feinstein should step down.
California has a goldmine full of impressive political talent, it’s time for her to pass the torch.
If she runs again, I will work the campaign of whoever primaries her, and ensure she’s defeated.
— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) January 13, 2021
Another on Twitter pleaded with her to go. “We are in a crisis and a day of reckoning. It’s time to move on and move fast. @SenFeinstein, like a 35-year-old professional athlete, needs to retire with grace.”
We are in a crisis and a day of reckoning. It's time to move on and move fast. @SenFeinstein, like a 35-year-old professional athlete, needs to retire with grace.
— 🧚♀️Living my dream 🌊🌊🌊 (@mjc652) January 13, 2021