Pelosi Endorses Adam Schiff For California Senate Seat, Pending Dianne Feinstein’s Retirement


Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Rep. Adam Schiff for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)’s seat if Feinstein retires at the end of her term, Pelosi said in a statement Thursday expressing support for her fellow California Democrat in a race that is shaping up to be crowded with progressive contenders.

Key Facts

Pelosi said she would support Feinstein, who at 89 is the oldest lawmaker in Congress, if she decides to seek another term.

If Feinstein does retire, Pelosi will back Schiff, who “knows well the nexus between a strong Democracy and a strong economy,” she said in a statement that notes she supported him in his initial run for Congress in 2000.

Pelosi also lauded Feinstein’s accomplishments during her 30 years in Congress, including her tenure as Intelligence Committee Chair (a position Schiff held in the previous session of Congress), and her sponsorship of the Respect for Marriage Act, which installed federal protections for same-sex marriages, along with the Violence Against Women Act aimed at preventing domestic violence and supporting survivors.

Key Background

Schiff announced his run for the California Senate seat a week ago, citing the “fight for democracy” and the need to prevent Americans from looking for “alternatives, like a dangerous demagogue who promises he alone can fix it,” he said in a statement. Schiff, 62, rose to national prominence when he served on the January 6 select committee to investigate the Capitol riots and led the first impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. He will face progressive Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who was the first Democrat to announce her candidacy, in the 2024 Democratic primary. Progressive Reps. Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee are also considering runs, but have not formally entered the race.

What We Don’t Know

Whether Feinstein will actually retire. She told reporters last week she would make a decision in “a couple of months” and her spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times in December she would not step down early.

Big Number

23. The number of Senate seats up for re-election in districts held by Democrats, of 34 total, with three in states former President Donald Trump won and five more in states President Joe Biden won by 10 points or less–a map that could threaten Democrats’ slim 51-49 majority in the upper chamber.


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blocked Schiff, along with Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, also of California, from sitting on the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month, citing their “misuse” of the committee’s power. The move makes good on McCarthy’s promise to remove them, along with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), from their committee assignments–intentions he declared in January last year while pointing to Democrats’ decision to eject Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) from their committees in 2021 over a string of incendiary rhetoric.

Further Reading

Adam Schiff Running For Feinstein’s Senate Seat—Adding To Crowded Field Of Potential Progressive Challengers (Forbes)

Rep. Katie Porter Will Run For California Senate Seat—As Questions Loom Over Feinstein’s Future (Forbes)

McCarthy Blocks Schiff And Swalwell From Taking Intel Committee Seats (Forbes)