(The Center Square) – California Senator Dianne Feinstein, died in office at 90 years old before finishing her final term. Until her replacement is elected, California Governor Gavin Newsom will have the power to appoint an interim senator. Feinstein, who announced she would not be running for re-election in 2024, has three Democratic members of Congress vying to succeed her, including Adam Schiff, D–Burbank, Barbara Lee, D–Oakland, and Katie Porter, D–Huntington Beach.
Feinstein passed on Friday morning at her home in Washington, D.C.
“There are few women who can be called senator, chairman, mayor, wife, mom and grandmother,” wrote Feinstein’s chief of staff James Sauls in a statement announcing her death. “There is much to say about who she was and what she did, but for now, we are going to grieve the passing of our beloved boss, mentor and friend.”
Feinstein, a native of San Francisco – a consolidated city-county – earned her bachelor’s degree at Stanford before being elected to the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors in 1969. While she was County Board president, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk were assassinated, after which she succeeded Moscone as mayor. Feinstein survived a mayoral recall attempt in 1983, lost her race for governor in 1990, and won a special U.S. Senate election to succeed her victorious gubernatorial opponent Pete Wilson.
As senator, Feinstein was best known for authoring the “Assault Weapons Ban” of 1994, which banned standard-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and some semi-automatic weapons based on mostly cosmetic or ergonomic features, and in 2014 released a report on U.S. government torture methods used during the Global War on Terror.
In 2020, reports began to surface about then-87-year-old Feinstein’s declining mental and physical health. During her final term, Feinstein missed more than 100 votes in just one year alone as her declining health forced her to remain at home, leading her to announce in February that she would not be running for re-election.
Newsom had promised multiple times to appoint a black woman to fill California’s next vacant Senate seat, and most recently reiterated this promise earlier in September.