Here's two recent takes on the matter.
First, calbuzz gives us the skinny on why DiFi will not run.
As reporters who covered Feinstein over several decades as a mayor, statewide candidate (including her losing 1990 race for governor against Pete Wilson) and U.S. senator, we recognize the signs of her obsessive flirtation with the political spotlight, and offer three words you can take to the bank:All good points. But what does Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight have to say?
She won’t run.
As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and of the Subcommittee on Interior and Environment of Appropriations, Feinstein is better positioned, not only to pursue her passion for national security and foreign policy, but also her concern over big environmental issues such as water policy.
As a politician, Feinstein is risk-averse; as a campaigner she is often a cranky warrior, for whom the delights of having breakfast with local ministers at the Barstow Holiday Inn are well-eclipsed by the cozy bonhomie of Georgetown dinner parties. Feinstein despises primary fights and at least some Democrats positioning themselves for 2010 — Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. John Garamendi come to mind — are unlikely to step aside for her, guaranteeing an expensive and exhausting battle.
And what is there for Feinstein to gain by [her opposition to EFCA]? Well, money. Winning a race in a state as large and diverse as California is exceptionally expensive. Moreover, campaign finance laws are much laxer in California. Individuals and PACs can contribute up to $24,100 (.pdf) in California in both the primary and the general election, much higher than the $2,300 federal limit. By hedging her bets on EFCA, Feinstein stands to make herself more attractive to corporate contributors. She might also differentiate herself as the moderate candidate in a field of liberals, which is not a bad strategy since California's primaries are open to independent and Republican voters.I like that Nate calls it an "upshot" that DiFi would run for Governor. While I appreciate Nate's analysis and willingness to connect policy to politics, callbuzz has the history. DiFi certainly is a powerful figure in the Senate and she could have a lot of influence over the Obama Administration. It's tough giving that up, at her age, for the chance to try your hand at running the state.
So the upshot of her lukewarmness on EFCA is this, I think: Dianne Feinstein is running for governor.
But that is exactly what she, and most California politicians, dream of doing. One doesn't go into politics for the ease and comfort, and no one goes into California politics to chase some measly Beltway gig. Sacramento is the prize.
She probably shouldn't run, because it would be expensive and bloody and hard. She can do so much for California from Washington. I'd like her to run, for my own centrist sensibilities. If she does run, it will be because she believes that any other Dem nominee is doomed to defeat by the prospective GOP nominee.
And that analysis - Brown, Newsom, or Villaraigosa vs. Poizner or Whitman - is the analysis I have yet to see...