Longest serving Jewish senator Dianne Feinstein to step down in 2024

Ms Feinstein has operated as a political centrist and has regularly cast pro-Israel votes


Leading Jewish Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, the oldest sitting member of the United States Senate, said on Tuesday that she will not seek re-election in 2024, bringing to a close her three decades plus in office.

The 89-year-old from California said: “I am announcing today I will not run for reelection in 2024, but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends.”

The Democrat resigned from her senior role on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee in November 2020, after years of speculation regarding her health and alleged cognitive decline.

Ms Feinstein’s departure has already drawn attention from two Democratic US representatives, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff.

Mr Schiff, currently serving as a congressman for California's 30th district, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency wire service that he would carry on Ms Feinstein’s commitment to Jewish values if he was elected as her replacement.

 “I would love to bring that passion for Tikkun Olam with me to the US Senate,” he explained.

Ms Feinstein became a player in national politics from 1978 when, while serving as president of the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco when she discovered the body of Harvey Milk, the city’s inaugural openly gay elected official in the city’s history who was assassinated by disgruntled ex-colleague Dan White.

IN 2008 she told the San Francisco Chronicle that the incident was “one of the hardest moments, if not the hardest moment, of my life".

Last year a number of Ms Feinstein's colleagues anonymously expressed their concerns over her mental fitness for her role to the San Francisco Chronicle.

She went on to serve two terms as San Francisco mayor.

In 1992 the veteran California Democrat won a special election to replace Republican Senator Pete Wilson after he was elected governor of California. Citing the trauma she experienced in the aftermath of the killing of Mr Milk and his successor George Moscone, she became a strong advocate of gun control.

Ms Feinstein has operated as a political centrist and has regularly cast pro-Israel votes. 

However, during the mid-2000s she criticised Israel’s use of mines and cluster bombs in its 2006 war in Lebanon. 

Ms Feinstein became the first woman to chair the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the first to preside over a US presidential inauguration.

In her statement on Tuesday, Ms Feinstein referred to her work on a 1994 assault weapons ban and a report on the CIA’s post 9/11 use of torture. “Each of us was sent here to solve problems,” she told the Senate.

“That’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years, and that’s what I plan to do for the next two years."

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive