Emblematic of the division splitting the nation’s liberals, the California Democratic Party decided not to endorse in the U.S. Senate or gubernatorial contests Saturday at their annual convention in San Diego. The move was a notable rebuke of veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has represented California in the upper house for a quarter-century.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, speaks to members of the media at the Capitol on Feb. 15, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Feinstein, 84, is facing an insurgent bid by fellow Democrat Kevin de León, who is calling for generational change and a more aggressive and confrontational approach to President Trump. Though De León did not get the endorsement, he and his advisors noted that a large percentage of the state’s Democratic leaders opposed the endorsement of Feinstein, a remarkable opposition to a woman who is a part of the party firmament.
“The outcome of today’s endorsement vote is an astounding rejection of politics as usual, and it boosts our campaign’s momentum as we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder against a complacent status quo,” De León said. “California Democrats are hungry for new leadership that will fight for California values from the frontlines, not equivocate on the sidelines.”
As Feinstein addressed the thousands of Democrats gathered in San Diego for their annual convention, she touted her tenure, notably her efforts on gun control. After she failed to obtain the state party endorsement, her longtime advisor argued that Feinstein, as a senior senator in Washington, D.C., could not shower party regulars with as much attention as De León could.