Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) endorsed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) seat in the Senate, despite the senator not yet revealing that she plans to retire.
However, Pelosi noted her endorsement for Schiff only stands if Feinstein chooses to stand down and not run for re-election in 2024.
Pelosi chose her ally Schiff over Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA).
Porter announced her Senate campaign last month.
Meanwhile, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is also widely expected to join the race.
“I will be supporting House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, who knows well the nexus between a strong democracy and a strong economy,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday.
“In his service in the House, he has focused on strengthening our democracy with justice and on building an economy that works for all.”
Local media described the development as “the strongest sign yet that Feinstein will not seek re-election.”
While Feinstein has not yet publicly announced her retirement, it’s likely that top Democrats are aware of her plans.
In response to the endorsement from the longtime Democrat leader, Schiff said in a statement he is “honored to have earned” Pelosi’s support.
He said after Pelosi made clear her stance, 20 current and former members of the California delegation also endorsed his campaign for Senate.
Schiff, whose district includes parts of Los Angeles County, announced his campaign for Senate two days after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) removed him from the House Intelligence Committee.
McCarthy boosted Schiff over national security concerns and accusations he has been repeatedly lying to the American people.
Schiff called the move “petty, political payback” for his participation in investigations into President Donald Trump.
Pelosi said the United States is at a “crossroads” leading up to the 2024 election.
She cast the Democrats as the defenders of democracy and freedom while characterizing Republicans as being beholden to special interests.
“Ever since I supported Adam in his race for Congress in 2000, I have known his commitment to putting the American Dream in place for everyone,” Pelosi said in her statement first given to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Coming from a family of immigrants, Adam has dedicated his life to public service.
“Every time I have asked Adam to take on the tough fight against extremist forces, he has responded with integrity, strength and success.”
Feinstein has not yet shared whether she will seek another term.
She told Bloomberg News late last month she would share her plans “in the spring sometime.”
At the age of 89, Feinstein is the Senate’s oldest member.
In recent years, her colleagues have raised concerns about her mental fitness.
She raised less than $600 in the last three months and has under $10,000 in her campaign account, The Hill reported Wednesday.
In her statement, Pelosi praised Feinstein as an “iconic” senator with a “remarkable legislative record.”
Feinstein “has my whole-hearted support” if she does decide to run for re-election, Pelosi added.
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