National News

‘It’s Really About the State for Me’: Feinstein on Running Again

Posted November 5, 2018 12:49 p.m. EST

There is a lot of suspense going into Tuesday’s elections in California. Well, at least in the seven Republican-held congressional seats Democrats are trying to capture as part of their effort to win back the House.

By contrast, the two high-profile state races seem likely to go to Democrats. Polls show Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom with a strong lead over John Cox, the Republican challenger. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein seems to be gliding to re-election over her Democratic opponent, Kevin de León.

The New York Times caught up with Feinstein last week in Salinas to talk about why she was running again and what she was hoping to do in Congress. Here are some excerpts, which have been edited for clarity and space.

Q: Was the election of President Donald Trump a factor in your decision to run again?

A: It’s really about the state for me. This is the state of my birth. It’s the state of my education. My opponent always uses seniority derogatorily. But it has advantages in the Senate.

Q: Isn’t it going to be hard to get things done if Democrats don’t win the Senate?

A: Right now, Republicans have a lock on all three branches. You open that lock if you win the House. And I think there is a very good opportunity to win the House.

Q: Do you think President Trump’s attacks on you as doddering are ageist?

A: He’ll take anything he can. I think I’m in good physical condition. It’s the same way he attacked the FBI. I don’t know how long you can be president by offending everybody. I think we are going to find out.

Q: One thing you hear from younger voters is that it’s time for you to step aside so that a new generation has a chance.

A: I say that elections are free, open and fair. And I won every district in the state in the primary, including his.

Q: What about a general philosophical question: Should older people step aside to give younger people a chance?

A: I’ve never heard that before. You are the first one who has said that to me.

Q: Well, what do you think of that argument?

A: Not much. I think it takes both.