Dianne Feinstein is dead. Here’s what happens next, and what it means for Democrats – DAVID RAUDALES

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Dianne Feinstein is dead. Here’s what happens next, and what it means for Democrats

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) speaks during the confirmation hearing for then-Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen on January 19, 2021.

Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP, Pool

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s death will temporarily narrow Senate Democrat’s razor-thin majority.
California Gavin Newsom has promised to name a Black woman as Feinstein’s replacement.
Newsom has cautioned that he won’t name a replacement who wants to win a full term.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has died after months of health struggles, meaning California Gov. Gavin Newsom will now need to appoint her replacement. 

 

 

Before her death, Newsom repeatedly promised to nominate a Black woman to serve out the remainder of Feinstein’s term. After Vice President Kamala Harris’ election, there are no Black women in the Senate. Rep. Barbara Lee, who was already running in the race to replace Feinstein, has expressed frustration over Newsom’s later qualification that the replacement must only be a placeholder and cannot be running for a full term.

Right now, Lee and Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter are all running for the full term given that Feinstein previously promised to retire after her term ended in 2025. California has a so-called “jungle primary” system, which means the top two voter getters regardless of party move on to the general election.

Feinstein’s death also means that Californians will vote four times next year on the future of the Senate seat, as Politico’s Steven Shepard pointed out. There will now be a special election to fill out part of the remainder of Feinstein’s term. It is likely that the current candidates vying for the full term will also run for that short window.

Newsom has already had to fill one of California’s seats before, naming Sen. Alex Padilla to replace Harris in December 2020 after Harris and Joe Biden won their election. The process to name Harris’ replacement came just over a month after Election Day, though Newsom has been planning for the potential of Feinstein’s vacancy for quite some time. It is likely he could more even quicker in this instance.

Senate Democrats hold a narrow majority that for the moment will shrink to just 50-49, a number that doesn’t account for the fact that three officially independent senators caucus with Democrats. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who formally left the party after fighting with the White House over economic policy, is one of those three. Sen. Joe Manchin of California, another more centrist lawmaker, will also have more sway temporarily.

The major question before the Senate right now is whether the government will shut down this weekend. On this note, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is unlikely to face a tough vote as many Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, are pushing a stop-gap measure. The problem remains that top House Republicans have said their plan is unworkable, leaving Congress in limbo as the nation approaches a shutdown on midnight Sunday.

This is a breaking news story. Stay with Insider for more updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider