OAN’s Brooke Mallory
11:32 AM – Thursday, May 25, 2023
According to a report from the Associated Press, media mogul Oprah Winfrey is being considered as a possible replacement for Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is ill and being pressured to step down from her position before the conclusion of her term.
The outlet added that numerous names, including Winfrey’s, are being floated as prospective replacements in case Feinstein were to depart. Feinstein, who returned to the Senate earlier this month, previously stated that she will not run for re-election in 2024.
If Feinstein were to step down before the 2024 election, California Governor Gavin Newsom would be tasked with selecting her replacement. Due to Feinstein’s issues with shingles, as well as her declining mental capacity, some Democrats have campaigned for Feinstein’s retirement.
“Characterized by swelling of the brain, post-shingles encephalitis can leave patients with lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches, and difficulties walking. Older patients tend to have the most trouble recovering. And even before this latest illness, Ms. Feinstein had already suffered substantial memory issues that had raised questions about her mental capacity,” said the New York Times, regarding Feinstein’s latest health complications.
If Feinstein’s seat does in fact become available, Newsom had previously committed to appointing a Black woman for the job, back in 2021.
Winfrey entered politics during the 2022 midterm elections and publicly supported a number of Democrats in high-profile races, including John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, Val Demmings in Florida, Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin, Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and Stacey Abrams in Georgia.
Winfrey previously faced pressure to be a potential presidential candidate in the build-up to the 2020 election, although she has repeatedly said that she will not be running for office in the White House.
In a November 2018 speech during Abrams’ gubernatorial run in Georgia, Winfrey said: “I am not here because I am making some grandstand, because I’m thinking about running myself. I don’t want to run. I am not trying to test any waters, don’t want to go in those waters.”
A number of well-known Democrats have already entered the race in order to succeed Feinstein when her term ends, including California representatives like Adam Schiff, Rep. Barbara Lee, and Rep. Katie Porter.
In the event that Feinstein finally does retire, Newsom’s choice to pick Lee for a temporary Senate appointment would most likely put her ahead of the others in 2024, being that she is also a Black woman, one of Newsom’s preferred requirements.
“He made the commitment and I do not believe there is any wiggle room for the governor not to honor his commitment,” said Democrat strategist and fundraiser Kerman Maddox, referencing Newsom’s 2021 promise to appoint a Black woman as a replacement.
The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and Feinstein’s aides are currently preventing her from speaking with reporters and photographers on Capitol Hill, according to a Los Angeles Times report that came out on Thursday.
When questioned recently by reporters about her whereabouts, the senator acted confused and insisted that she had never left Congress to recover from her health issues and had instead been voting the entire time.
Feinstein was also urged to resign by Representatives Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) last month.
“It’s time for [Feinstein] to resign,” Khanna said. “We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people.”
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