Since her return to Washington, Dianne Feinstein has taken on a lighter schedule, appearing in the Senate only at committee hearings or on the floor when her vote is essential. | Francis Chung/POLITICO
Nearly two-thirds of Californians believe Sen. Dianne Feinstein is no longer fit to serve in office due to her health condition, a new poll found.
The respondents, which ranged across the ideological spectrum, cited the 89-year-old Feinstein’s latest illness as the reason she should resign, according to the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, co-sponsored by The Los Angeles Times. Twenty percent of respondents disagreed.
Feinstein took several months away from her office earlier this year to recover from shingles. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, her absence caused a logjam on party-line judicial nominees.
Though she has since returned to the hill, 52 percent of surveyed Democratic voters in California believe she should resign, according to the poll. If that happens, Gov. Gavin Newsom would be able to appoint a replacement to serve out the term.
But voters aren’t sure who they would support in a Senate primary, the poll found. Republican attorney Eric Early has a slight lead with 18 percent of respondents — nearly all Republicans. Democrats aren’t far behind: Rep. Katie Porter polled at 17 percent, followed by Rep. Adam Schiff at 14 percent and Rep. Barbara Lee at 9 percent.
Since her return to Washington, Feinstein has taken on a lighter schedule, appearing in the Senate only at committee hearings or on the floor when her vote is essential. Once a leading voice against gun violence, she skipped a recent Democratic Caucus meeting on guns, and she hasn’t attended any committee activity where her votes aren’t required.
A handful of Democratic House members openly called for her resignation during her absence and have not retracted. Other lawmakers are navigating the situation carefully.
“We need her in committee and on the floor,” Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said last week, referring to Feinstein’s critical vote on judicial nominees who lack any GOP support. “We’re doing our best to be sensitive to her medical condition.”
Fellow Californian and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s eldest daughter, Nancy Corinne Prowda, is among the entourage of aides who have been escorting the senator on the hill.
While there is a long and friendly relationship between Feinstein and the Pelosis, the caretaking arrangement has raised questions about whether Nancy Pelosi’s political interests are in conflict with Feinstein’s personal interests, POLITICO reported earlier this month.