Sen. Dianne Feinstein Hospitalized with Shingles, Sen. Casey Returns to Work After Surgery

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been hospitalized with shingles and is receiving treatment in her hometown of San Francisco, her office announced Thursday.[0] Feinstein, who is 89 and the oldest sitting senator currently in office, has been facing questions in recent years about her mental acuity.[1] Last month, she announced she would not seek re-election in 2024 after more than three decades in the Senate.[1]

Shingles is an infection of the nerves caused by a reactivated chicken pox virus that can result in a painful, scaly rash, typically on one side of the body.[2] Feinstein said in a statement that she “expect[s] to make a full recovery,” and “hope[s] to return to the Senate later this month.”[3]

Feinstein has held her seat since 1992.[4] Prior to that, she was well-known for her time as president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978, during which the assassinations of gay board member and civil rights activist Harvey Milk and then-Mayor George Moscone occurred.[2] In 1978, she succeeded Moscone as mayor and attempted to run for California governor in 1990, but was unsuccessful. In 1992, she was elected to the U.S. Senate.[2]

The news of Feinstein's hospitalization comes just two weeks after she announced she would retire at the end of her term next year.[5] So far three Democratic representatives — Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee — have announced campaigns for the seat.[6]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's non-presence in the Senate could sway Democratic tactics as the Democratic Caucus has a majority of 51-49 over the chamber. Sen. John Fetterman has been hospitalized since last month for treatment of depression.[7] This week, the Democrats have not had a definitive majority in the Senate due to a few temporary absences, making it more difficult to approve Joe Biden's nominees and giving Republicans an advantage in getting their bills signed into law by the President.[8]

Last month, Senator Bob Casey underwent surgery for prostate cancer, but he has since resumed his job.[8] Senator Feinstein is a member of four Senate committees that have held twelve public and six closed hearings in the current year.[9] She has been present at nine out of the eighteen hearings.[9] She is a member of the intelligence committee, which seldom conducts public hearings.[9] In comparison, Alex Padilla, another Senator from California, is a member of five committees, where 18 hearings have taken place; he has been present at 14 of them.[9]

At the same time[8]

0. “Feinstein hospitalized with shingles, expected to make full recovery” USA TODAY, 3 Mar. 2023,

1. “California Sen. Dianne Feinstein hospitalized with shingles” KSBW Monterey, 3 Mar. 2023,

2. “Longtime LGBTQ+ political ally Sen. Diane Feinstein has been hospitalized” LGBTQ Nation, 3 Mar. 2023,

3. “Senate Democrats Lose Majority With Feinstein Hospitalization” Washington Free Beacon, 3 Mar. 2023,

4. “Feinstein Sidelined With ‘Health Matter,' Which We Now Know Is Shingles” SFist, 3 Mar. 2023,

5. “Senator Dianne Feinstein Is Hospitalized for Shingles” PEOPLE, 3 Mar. 2023,

6. “Sen. Dianne Feinstein hospitalized with shingles in California” The Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2023,

7. “Biden’s new headache: Feinstein, Fetterman absences leave president with bumpy road in the Senate” Yahoo Entertainment, 3 Mar. 2023,

8. “Fetterman and Feinstein absences leave Senate Democrats without outright majority” Washington Examiner, 2 Mar. 2023,

9. “Sen. Dianne Feinstein is hospitalized in San Francisco with shingles” San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Mar. 2023,

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