California Sen. Dianne Feinstein's death Friday at the age of 90 came as a shock despite her ill health over the past year. Her extended absences had paralyzed Democrats' efforts to push through judicial nominations earlier this year, but she was still a monumental figure in both Golden State and national politics.
First elected in a 1992 special election, she became the longest-serving female senator in history. The race to replace her in 2024 was already on, and Feinstein's passing may have limited, if any, impact on that contest.
Instead, the focus now turns to who Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom — someone very mindful of his own political future as he looks to a 2028 White House bid — will choose to succeed Feinstein, one of his close political mentors.
Expect Newsom's pick to happen sooner rather than later, perhaps as early as Monday or Tuesday. Congress is on the brink of a government shutdown at midnight on Saturday. Senate Democrats, now without Feinstein, have only a 50-49 advantage. There will be some time to mourn her
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