Dianne Feinstein running for reelection next year

Feinstein 'We need a law' on bump stocks

She said the change in gun laws must be permanent and codified by Congress, not addressed through regulations only.

Still, the state's size and notoriously expensive media markets make it challenging for upstarts to break through.

With Feinstein in, the question becomes whether anyone else challenges her, the likeliest being de León, who is termed out of the state Senate and has questioned her calls for patience with President Donald Trump.

But NBC also notes that in such a large and diverse state, it can be hard for candidates with no name recognition to break through, and the "the "jungle primary" system, in which the top two candidates, regardless of party, advance to the general election, is created to have a moderating influence, which could help protect Feinstein". Bernie Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and a potential 2020 challenger.

Feinstein was first elected to the Senate in 1992.

Her analysis came several days after being criticized at a town hall meeting in San Francisco for expressing optimism about Trump becoming "a good president". Barbara Boxer retired in 2015 at age 74, allowing rising star Kamala Harris to be elected to the Senate.

A Public Policy Institute of California survey released late last month found that roughly half of voters believe Feinstein shouldn't seek another term. Harris moved quickly to back her colleague and try to keep the field clear.

"I'm immensely proud of my service in the Senate and all I've done to help the people of California and the nation", Feinstein wrote on Facebook.

Asked about a poll that half of California voters don't think she should run, she added: "Oh look".

The Republican Party is virtually extinct statewide in California. And that could mean a more expensive reelection effort than Feinstein has had to deal with in decades.

Harris spent almost $15 million on her 2016 campaign, despite having an opponent who never come close to threatening her in the polls.

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