Report: Sen. Dianne Feinstein's retirement would kick off 'ugly proxy war'

 May 29, 2023

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced earlier this year that she will not seek another term in office. According to NBC News, that has led to "an ugly proxy war" over who will replace her. 

The network cited unnamed sources close to California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom as saying that he is "not happy" about the prospect of having to choose Feinstein's successor should she opt to retire early.

Race will play a major role in any decision

While NBC News recalled how two years ago, Newsom pledged that he would find an African American woman for his next Senate appointment, telling MSNBC, "I have multiple names in mind."

However, the situation has since been complicated by a number of political developments with California Democratic politics.

One is that longtime Rep. Barbara Lee, who is black and widely considered to be on Newsom's shortlist, has announced plans to run for Feinstein's seat.

What's more, NBC News noted that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has gone "all in" for California Rep. Adam Schiff. Meanwhile, some of Newsom's allies are backing California Rep. Katie Porter.

"Any decision p--ses off someone important"

"Newsom always says that he hates these," the network quoted one unnamed California Democratic strategist as saying.

"He talks about how you make one person temporarily happy and p--s off a million others. I didn’t really believe him on the others — but I do believe him on this one," the anonymous figure continued.

"Any decision p--ses off someone important. There's more of a downside than upside to just about anything you do," the strategist went on to add.

Creating further difficulty is the fact that many prominent African American Democrats were left upset two years ago when Newsom chose to fill Vice President Kamala Harris' Senate seat with Alex Padilla, who is Latino.

Taisha Brown chairs California Democratic Party’s Black Caucus, and she was quoted as saying, "Through a stroke of a pen, his actions have denied a Black female representation in the United States Senate."

Report: Feinstein depends on aides due to cognitive decline

An article published this past weekend by New York Times congressional correspondent Annie Karni suggests that Newsom may be confronted with a Senate vacancy sooner rather than later.

She wrote that the 89-year-old lawmaker must be "surrounded by a large retinue of aides at all times" due to her declining cognitive abilities.

The senator's entourage is responsible for telling her "how and when to vote" as well as "shield her from the press and public."

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