WASHINGTON — Longtime California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has made it official: She’ll run for a sixth term in 2018.
“I’m immensely proud of my service in the Senate and all I’ve done to help the people of California and the nation. But there’s still so much work left to do, from ending gun violence, to combating climate change, to ensuring proper and affordable access to healthcare, and to giving DREAMers the chance to stay in the United States,” Feinstein said on Facebook.
The Democrat’s announcement comes amid threats from her left, with more progressive Californians saying Feinstein’s moderate nature isn’t the right fit for a state that feels the brunt of Trump administration policies. Feinstein is leaning on her record as the first woman to be the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee and her role on the Senate Intelligence Committee as the reasons she should stay in office. Both committees are investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2018 election.
Feinstein was first elected in 1992 to fill a two-year vacancy, and was elected four more times to full six-year Senate terms. She is the longest consecutively serving California official, and at 84, the oldest member of the U.S. Senate.
Feinstein has taken a leading role in gun violence prevention efforts, sponsoring the assault weapons ban in the 1990s and more recently the proposed ban on the modification used in the Las Vegas shooting Oct. 1 that enables a semi-automatic weapon to function more like an automatic weapon.
She had just $3.6 million in the bank, according to her July campaign finance report, a sliver of the $14.8 million she raised in 2012. But she’s been fundraising across the state during the last quarter. New fundraising totals will be released next week.
Ten people have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run against Feinstein. But the three Democrats, three Republicans, three independents and one person with the Humane Party have a noticeable lack of fundraising. Just one, Pat Harris, has raised more than $100,000, and that was a loan he made to his campaign.
Feinstein had been coy about her future plans for months, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview on “Meet the Press” over the weekend “you are going to find out about that very shortly.”
A recent poll found half of California’s likely voters don’t think the 84-year-old senator should run again. But on “Meet the Press,” Feinstein was undeterred.
“There are polls and then there are polls. I’m ready for a good fight. I’ve got things to fight for. I’m in a position where I can be effective, and hopefully that means something to California,” she said.
California’s junior Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris endorsed her colleague quickly Monday, saying in a statement, “We are better off with her leadership.”