The Slatest

The California Democratic Party Will Not Endorse Sen. Dianne Feinstein for Re-election

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks to reporters at the Capitol on February 15, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein failed to secure her party’s endorsement for her re-election, falling far behind her more progressive challenger in the party’s support.

According to ABC News, it was the first time the senator had failed to receive the nomination since her first senate campaign in 1994. Feinstein, who has served as a senator for 25 years, received 37 percent of the delegates’ votes. Her challenger, state Senate leader Kevin de León, who has cast himself as the more progressive candidate, won 54 percent. A candidate would need 60 percent of the vote to receive the endorsement.

The failure to win the endorsement has served as a stinging rebuke of the senator, who has become far less popular among progressives in the state. At the Democratic party’s convention in San Diego over the weekend, de León’s supporters chanted at her, “Your time is up! Your time is up!” after her speech on Saturday, according NPR.

Feinstein still appears to be in a good position when it comes to the election. As Josh Voorhees wrote in Slate on February 14, Feinstein was strongly outperforming de León in the polls and in fundraising. Feinstein had also secured the support of important Democrats in the state, including Sen. Kamala Harris and U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu, all of whom are considered favorites among progressives for their opposition to Trump.

But Feinstein has long been to the right of California Democrats, as she voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq and opposes single-payer healthcare, as Voorhees writes. And as NPR wrote, Feinstein did not win the party endorsement when she ran for governor in 1990 after she expressed support for the death penalty.

Feinstein will almost certainly face de León in the general election, Voorhees writes, as California’s “jungle” primary advances the top two candidates regardless of party.