Last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced her intent to retire after the 2024 election.
Feinstein, 89, committed to staying in Congress until the end of her current term… but now she’s dealing with a serious “health matter.”
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The California senator missed several roll call votes this week, according to an NBC News report. She even missed a Judiciary Committee Hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Feinstein’s staff eventually had to explain the absence.
“The senator is in California this week dealing with a health matter,” one of Feinstein’s spokespeople said in a statement obtained by CBS News. “She hopes to return to Washington soon.”
The Democrats currently have a very slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, and some senators — including Feinstein — have been testing this narrow majority.
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema left the party last year. Pennsylvania’s junior Sen. John Fetterman checked himself into a hospital for clinical depression, and Pennsylvania’s senior Sen. Bob Casey returned to work only recently, after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer.
Vice President Kamala Harris has served as the Senate’s tiebreaking vote multiple times this week amid Feinstein’s absence.
Despite her stated intent to finish the term, the elderly Feinstein has receded from the Senate in recent years. Last year, she declined to serve as the Senate’s pro tempore president, a role usually reserved for the most senior senator in the majority party.
In 2020, she stepped down from her role as the highest-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, following her controversial comments during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
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California’s governor will appoint a replacement senator, in the event of a vacancy.
The current governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, has committed to appointing a Black woman in the event of a vacancy.
Newsom has already appointed another senator. In 2020, he picked State Secretary Alex Padilla to fill the Senate seat vacated by Kamala Harris, another Black woman.
It remains unclear whether — or how — a possible replacement will affect California’s upcoming race for Feinstein’s Senate seat.
Three U.S. representatives are already vying for Feinstein’s seat, and two of them announced their campaigns before Feinstein’s retirement announcement. The candidates include Russiagate hysteric Adam Schiff, election denier Barbara Lee, and internet meme Katie Porter.
Read more: Sen. John Fetterman makes strange announcement Wednesday…
The Horn editorial team