Dianne Feinstein, the senior U.S. senator from California, has long had an air of mystery, an essence distilled in a single sentence: Will she or won’t she?
Will she oblige the Clinton White House and run for governor? (That was back in 1998, and, after months of speculation, she didn’t.) Will she save Democrats’ bacon by challenging Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2003 gubernatorial recall election? (She took a pass, again after much guessing.)
The question has gained renewed currency as Feinstein looks to 2018 and the prospect of seeking reelection a fifth time. If she wins and stays in office through 2022, she would become the longest-serving U.S. senator in California history, surpassing the 28 years Hiram Johnson served starting in 1917.