Bye, Bye, DiFi? Pelosi Issues Qualified Endorsement of Schiff for Feinstein Seat

Former speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) released a statement on Thursday conditionally endorsing Representative Adam Schiff’s bid to succeed Dianne Feinstein in the senate, provided the octogenarian lawmaker opts not to run for reelection in 2024.

“If Senator Feinstein decided to seek re-election, she has my whole-hearted support. If she decides not to run, I will be supporting House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, who knows well the nexus between a strong Democracy and strong economy,” Pelosi said.

At 89, Feinstein is the longest-serving female senator in American history and the oldest sitting member of the body. While Pelosi continues to publicly support her longtime colleague, the former speaker’s conditional endorsement of Schiff will likely be seen as a nudge to Feinstein to exit the arena, opening up the coveted safe Senate seat to the next generation of establishment-blessed Democratic leadership.

With her gesture of support for Schiff, Pelosi may be joining the growing cohort of Democrats who have begun a public campaign to pressure Feinstein off stage. Several media outlets have reported that Senate staffers and other Democratic insiders are growing increasingly concerned that Feinstein’s mental faculties are fading.

Last quarter, Feinstein raised less than $600 for her reelection campaign in what many campaign finance observers have cast as a mere legal formality to keep her campaign accounts open.

Schiff announced his intention to run for the Senate seat last Thursday.

“I look forward to campaigning hard in this race, meeting Californians where they are, and listening to what they want from their next Senator. I hope to earn their votes and their trust,” Schiff said in a statement.

For his part, Schiff personally thanked Pelosi on Twitter, saying he was “deeply honored and proud to have the support” from someone who “has been a friend and mentor throughout my time in Congress.”

Schiff was recently removed by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) from the House Intelligence Committee over his conduct during the Trump impeachment hearings. According to McCarthy, Schiff “openly lied to the American people” while chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and abused the powers of office.

Last Wednesday, Feinstein stated that she would decide “probably in the coming months” whether or not to run for the seat.

Asked about her thoughts on the news that fellow Democrats such as Schiff and Representative Katie Porter deciding to enter the race, Feinstein said: “Oh, I think it’s fine. I think people should [run] if they want to run, run. For me, I just need a little bit more time,” she said.

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