Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee of California has entered the Senate race to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein

California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee joined a growing field of candidates this week seeking to replace retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose staff announced she will not run for reelection.

The California Democrat filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday to run for Feinstein’s seat, according to Just The News, but she has yet to formally announce her campaign.

“[T]he campaign is taking the necessary steps to prepare,” a consultant for Lee told the outlet. “The Congresswoman will have more to say about this before the end of the month.”

Feinstein, 89, is the upper chamber’s oldest member. Her staff announced on Tuesday that she would not run for reelection, but the senator later appeared at a press conference and denied she had decided to retire, claiming she was unaware of the press release.

Retirement confirmed

She confirmed her retirement plans after receiving clarification from her staff.

On February 14, 2023 the 89-year-old senior senator from California, announced her intention to retire from the Senate rather than run for a sixth term when her current term expires at the end of 2024, according to Salon.

This marks the end of Feinstein’s long political career, which began when she won her first election just a few months after Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.

Lee will compete for the seat alongside California Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter. Prior to Feinstein’s announcement, both had declared their candidacies.

The jungle primary system in California allows multiple candidates from the same party to enter the race before narrowing it down to the top two vote-getters. Two Democrats could theoretically appear on the general election ballot.


The frequency with which a state representative becomes a state senator when the incumbent retires can vary widely depending on several factors, including the political climate, the demographics of the state or district, and the individual qualifications and ambitions of the state representative in question.

In some cases, a state representative may be well-positioned to succeed a retiring state senator, particularly if they have built a strong reputation and a broad base of support within their district.

However, in other cases, the state representative may face competition from other candidates or may choose not to run for the position for personal or political reasons.

It is also worth noting that state representative and state senator are distinct offices with different responsibilities and requirements, and that the qualifications for each position may vary depending on the state in question.

In general, however, state senators typically have broader constituencies and more legislative power than state representatives, and may be responsible for overseeing multiple districts or regions within a state.


Feinstein has served in the United States Senate for 30 years and is retiring due to concerns about her mental fitness to continue in her current position.

This issue has been raised by Democratic colleagues and congressional staff, not Republicans looking to score political points.

There is also a chance that Feinstein will not complete her current term, which runs through 2024, due to increased pressure on her to resign. This would allow California Governor Gavin Newsom, who regards Feinstein as a mentor, to name her successor.

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