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California Editorial Boards Question Feinstein’s Reelection Plans

Three of the state’s major papers questioned the 84-year-old’s decision to run for reelection in 2018, while offering praise of her political career.

Fellow Democrats are no longer the only ones openly questioning Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s decision to run for reelection in 2018.

Editorial boards of the state’s biggest papers openly questioned the decision, while offering praise of Feinstein’s lengthy political career.

While noting her political career began in 1970, the Sacramento Bee also pointed out that Feinstein would be 85 years old when voters head to the polls next year.

We will endorse in the Senate race next year. Feinstein’s decision to run again means that worthy replacements must wait for a rare opening, or, if they’re feeling lucky, challenge an elder stateswoman, who has seniority and money. That is, in a sense, unfortunate.

New politicians bring with them new thinking. Feinstein has been in elected office since 1970, and will be 85 when voters go to the polls in November 2018.

The San Francisco Chronicle criticized Feinstein’s 2012 decision to not debate her challenger and warned against doing so again in 2018, no matter her standing in the polls:

Feinstein, with a huge lead in the polls, refused to debate her GOP opponent in 2012. That was unacceptable. No elected official, even one with the distinguished record and legislative skills of Feinstein, ever should expect or receive an automatic renewal for another term.

A challenge from an incumbent is not an act of betrayal. It is an exercise in democracy. Let the campaign begin.

And the Los Angeles Times covered the short list of would-be challengers that Feinstein could face:

Of course, other Democrats have every right to challenge her. They shouldn’t stand aside out of deference to Feinstein. No one is entitled to an elected seat, not even a distinguished incumbent with a quarter-century of experience and accomplishment there. California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who is termed out next year, is rumored to be interested, as is billionaire Tom Steyer, who briefly considered running for Senate when Barbara Boxer retired. Both have the funds to launch credible challenges to Feinstein, as do others, no doubt.

Regardless of what happens, 2018 will undoubtedly be one of Feinstein’s toughest reelection battles yet. It will be decided by California’s increasingly liberal voting population, who may decide the senior senator is not quite progressive enough anymore.