Health scare for the oldest serving US senator
Senator Dianne Feinstein, 90, was briefly hospitalized on Tuesday after suffering a fall at her home in San Francisco, California. The news was confirmed by her spokesperson, who said that the senator went to the hospital as a precaution and that all of her scans were clear. She returned home later that day.
Feinstein is the oldest serving US senator and has faced questions about her health and mental acuity in recent months. She has said that she will retire at the end of her term in 2025, but some Democrats have urged her to step down sooner to allow Governor Gavin Newsom to appoint a younger and more progressive successor.
A history of medical issues and political controversies
Feinstein has been a prominent figure in US politics for decades, serving as the mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988 and as a US senator from California since 1992. She is currently the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has played a key role in many high-profile issues, such as gun control, immigration, national security, and judicial nominations.
However, Feinstein has also faced criticism from some of her fellow Democrats for being too moderate or conciliatory on some issues, such as her handling of the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 and her praise of Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, for his conduct during the confirmation hearings of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.
Feinstein has also struggled with health problems in recent years. In 2017, she revealed that she had a pacemaker implanted to regulate her heart rhythm. In 2021, she was absent from Congress for nearly three months while recovering from shingles and complications from the disease. She spent weeks recovering at home in California, delaying Senate business.
A competitive race to succeed Feinstein
Feinstein’s health scare comes as three Democratic House members have announced their candidacies to succeed her in the Senate. They are Adam Schiff, the former lead impeachment manager against former President Donald Trump; Barbara Lee, a longtime progressive and anti-war activist; and Katie Porter, a rising star and consumer protection advocate.
The race is expected to be competitive and expensive, as California is a large and diverse state with many political interests and constituencies. The primary election will be held in June 2024, followed by the general election in November 2024. The winner will join Senator Alex Padilla, who was appointed by Newsom to fill the seat vacated by Vice President Kamala Harris.