Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Sunday gave her strongest indication so far that she’ll seek re-election, amid speculation the senior California Democratic senator will retire amid a potential 2018 challenge from her party’s progressive wing.
“I’m ready for a good fight. I’ve got things to fight for,” the 84-year-old Feinstein said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’m in a position where I can be effective. And, hopefully, that means something to California.”
Feinstein, who had a pacemaker implanted in January, joined the Senate in 1992 after winning a special election. She is now the oldest U.S. senator and would be 91 at the end of another six-year term, if re-elected in November 2018.
The senator has been pressed recently by reporters about whether she’ll run again.
“Well, we will see, won’t we?” she also said Sunday, when asked about another Senate campaign.
Progressives are purportedly frustrated enough about her views on President Trump, DACA and single-payer health care to mount a challenge for her seat.
She recently upset progressives when the Trump administration announced in September the dismantling of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era executive order that protects young illegal immigrants from deportation.
Feinstein said she supports DACA, but acknowledged the administration’s argument that the order is on shaky legal ground.
Her analysis came several days after being criticized at a town hall meeting in San Francisco for expressing optimism about Trump becoming “a good president.” The remark resulted in so much Democratic backlash that she issued a clarification about being “under no illusion” about Trump.
California Democrats until recently appeared on a nearly endless wait to rise in political circles — with Feinstein and fellow Democrat Barbara Boxer as the state’s long-standing U.S. senators and fellow party member Jerry Brown serving four straight terms as governor.
However, Boxer’s retirement allowed former state Attorney General Kamala Harris last year to win that Senate seat. And Brown leaves in January after his fourth, and final, term.
Feinstein also has continuously expressed reservations about the so-called single-payer health care plan championed by many progressives, including Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and a potential 2020 challenger.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.