Feinstein announces she won't seek re-election, leaving door wide open for 2024

California Senator Dianne Feinstein brought speculation to an end Tuesday.

On her official website she said, "I am announcing today I will not run for reelection in 2024 but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends.

Feinstein, has served more than 30 years in the Senate, a powerful figure, but the 89-year-old Democratic icon began facing challenges in recent years from within the younger ranks of the party.

"We were already starting to see candidates announce their bids, so Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, and so I think that was in a sense a signal to Senator Feinstein that she needs to make a decision. 

U.C. Berkeley political science professor Eric Schickler says Feinstein was elected during a different era in California politics.

"She first won office at a time when Democrats only had a narrow edge in the state and she always positioned herself as a relatively moderate Democrat even though the party and the state have moved more in a liberal direction, so I think it's going to bring both a generational change and also potentially a shift in the ideological orientation," said Professor Schickler.

An outpouring of reaction from fellow politicians.came with praise and respect. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi spoke of Feinstein's work on gun control during a speech at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting.

"Fate threw us together. we were quite different in style and personality, and we remained very close and when it came to California we were joined at the hip," said former Senator Barbara Boxer calling on Congress to honor Feinstein's fight by renewing her 1994 assault weapons ban.

"For Senator Feinstein's last two years, can't our colleagues come around her and make this a lasting legacy, because the original assault weapons ban lasted only 10 years. We thought it could get it done again, and we never could."

MORE: California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein announces retirement

Schickler says the opening of a long-held seat is sure to rock California's Democratic Party.

"There's a lot of people who expect  Barbara Lee to announce her candidacy at some point, so I think we'll have that regional cleavage could be part of the battle and that southern California, did they divide up the support or do they have distinct bases between Porter and Schiff?" 

"I have every confidence that voters will decide what's most important for California right now in a pivotal moment in history," said Rep. Adam Schiff saying he would welcome an endorsement from Feinstein but isn't sure whether she will endorse any candidate.