Democrats pass on Sen. Feinstein to support her rival
We are months away from the November general election and the race for U.S. Senate is already heating up.
The California Democratic Party opted to endorse Kevin de Leon over incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“The vast majority of Californians without question know the senior senator because she’s been the incumbent for over a quarter of a century. But now we have a real opportunity to contrast our values, our accomplishments, our vision for the state,” said De Leon.
He was greeted like a political rock star at the party’s meeting in Oakland over the weekend — especially after securing the party’s backing.
“I think that may have inspired a lot of folks to think about what is possible,” added de Leon.
The board passed on incumbent Senator Feinstein, choosing de Leon with 65 percent of the vote on Saturday.
“We want someone who’s going to be in the U.S. Senate, standing up for immigrants, standing up for the LGBT community, standing up for people of color, in a very strident forceful way,” said John Vigna, communications director for the California Democratic Party.
Feinstein had asked the party to stay neutral in the race.
Earlier this year, both candidates failed to secure the party’s backing ahead of the primary by not capturing the 60 percent of votes needed.
Feinstein angered some Democrats last summer when she urged patience with President Donald Trump.
“I think you’re seeing a more diverse, younger, and more liberal group of people within the democratic party who are asserting their voices,” said Nicholas L. Baham, a cultural studies professor at Cal State East Bay. He said this latest endorsement is part of a wave of support for people of color in politics. “I think time will tell whether that trend carries forward.”
But de Leon still faces an uphill battle to unseat the incumbent.
The Feinstein campaign is confident they’ll win this November — after her strong support in the primary election. “Senator Feinstein won by 2.1 million votes and earned 70 percent of the democratic vote in the California Primary election, carrying every county by double digits over her opponent,” said Feinstein’s campaign manager, Jeff Millman.
Aside from bragging rights, the endorsement means the party will be spending more money to promote de Leon in the fall election.
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