Oprah Winfrey, the Renowned Television Icon, Tipped as Potential Successor to Senator Dianne Feinstein
Legendary talk show host, author, and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey may soon add another significant title to her portfolio: U.S. Senator. The 69-year-old TV icon is reportedly under consideration by California Governor Gavin Newsom to succeed Senator Dianne Feinstein, should the senior Democrat decide to retire before her term ends.
Earlier in 2021, Governor Newsom confirmed he would choose a Black woman for the Senatorial seat in case of Feinstein's early retirement, noting that several names were under consideration. Although he hasn't officially named his choice, multiple reports suggest that Winfrey, a stalwart of the television industry, features on his list.
Terry Schilling, the conservative-leaning President of the American Principles Project, has publicly critiqued this move, arguing against using race or gender as criteria for Senatorial appointments. "Identity politics of the Democrats is pulling this nation apart," he contended, further adding, "Oprah's qualifications as a senator remain debatable."
"However, one thing that should be beyond debate is that the people of California deserve the best possible representation, irrespective of their representative's gender or skin color," Schilling asserted.
These speculations have come at a time when Feinstein, 89, has been rumored to struggle with memory-related health problems, raising questions about her mental fitness to continue serving California. The Senator took a nearly three-month break from her duties while recovering from shingles, casting doubts on her ability to fulfill her role.
Feinstein's return to work has been accompanied by the presence of Nancy Pelosi's daughter, who assists her. However, Feinstein's recent interaction with a reporter, where she appeared disoriented about her recent absence, has reignited concerns about her cognitive health. "I haven't been absent. I've been present, I've been voting," Feinstein was quoted as telling the reporter, further stating, "Please, either be informed or uninformed."
Sources close to Feinstein told the San Francisco Chronicle last year that her memory was "rapidly deteriorating" and that her staff had taken on much of the work required to represent California's nearly 40 million residents.
Newsom's consideration of Winfrey for Feinstein's senatorial seat was reported by SFGate, while Daily Mail highlighted Schilling's comments.