What Dianne Feinstein’s Death Means for California.

And elections perhaps even beyond 2024.

Lauren Elizabeth
3 min readSep 29


Dianne Feinstein, via AP

At the age of 90, California Senator Dianne Feinstein has passed away.

Michael R. Blood and Mary Clare Jalonick with the Associated Press write:

“U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a centrist Democrat and champion of liberal causes who was elected to the Senate in 1992 and broke gender barriers throughout her long career in local and national politics, has died. She was 90.

Feinstein died on Thursday night at her home in Washington, D.C., her office said on Friday. Tributes poured in all day. Opening the Senate floor, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that “we lost a giant in the Senate.”…”

While I know Senator Feinstein will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and colleagues, I personally have no interest in eulogizing her. Frankly, I’m interested in what this means for the state of California, and what Governor Gavin Newsom is likely to do when it comes to appointing someone to — at least temporarily — take her place.

See, Newsom is in a tricky position. For months now, I and others who consider ourselves on the left have speculated that one reason why Feinstein’s fellow centrist Democrats were so invested in her staying in the Senate instead of retiring was because they did not want Newsom to have the opportunity to appoint Rep. Barbara Lee. Lee just so happens to be running against Rep. Adam Schiff for Feinstein’s Senate seat in 2024.

Funny how that works, right?

If Newsom were to in fact nominate Barbara Lee as conservative Democrats have feared, there’s no denying he would absolutely sour his relationship with this group of lawmakers and arguably even more importantly, their donors. I’m not sure how much more blatantly obvious Newsom could make it that he intends to run for President in the future, and given the type of politician he has proven himself to be for the state of California, it’s difficult for me to imagine that he would risk his own political ambitions to appoint someone even remotely on the left like Barbara Lee.

Personally, I would not be at all suprised to see Newsom appoint Adam Schiff, and have a future campaign compensated handsomely for it. That’s just politics in America, baby. It’s never about the best interest of the American people. It’s never about what the politician actually thinks and believes. It’s all just about the donor money, and what it can do for a politicians financial and political future.

Having said all that, I would certainly be happy to give Newsom his credit if he were to appoint Barbara Lee, but I’m not holding my breath. Feinstein’s death is already proving to have the massive political implications we knew it would, but the people of California deserve to have someone in that seat who actually cares about those they are there to serve.

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Lauren Elizabeth

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx