Here's the Democrat Who Just Announced His Challenge to Hawkish Feinstein

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Here's the Democrat Who Just Announced His Challenge to Hawkish Feinstein

Democracy for America says Californians "deserve two senators who will be relentless allies in their battle to stand up to the White House and take bold action on social, racial, and economic justice."

Calif. State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, pictured here in 2015, announced on Sunday his bid to unseat fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein. (Photo: LA Mountains/flickr/cc)

California Senate leader Kevin de Leόn formally announced on Sunday his bid to oust Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

His campaign page promises "a bold agenda to increase economic opportunity for all Californians with a focus on maintaining California's global leadership role in fighting climate change and building a clean-energy economy, rebuilding our state's infrastructure, public education, work-place and healthcare, equity for women, immigrants, and low-wage workers and public safety."

Taking aim at President Donald Trump, he said, "Every day, his administration wages war on our people and our progress. He disregards our voices. Demonizes our diversity. Attacks our civil rights, our clean air, our health access, and our public safety. We can lead the fight against his administration, but only if we jump into the arena together."

Feinstein announced last week that she was running for a sixth term, prompting calls for more progressive candidates to challenge the 84-year-old. As the LA Times reported last week, "Protesters have dogged Feinstein all year, speaking out about her opposition to single-payer healthcare, her call for 'patience' with Trump's presidency, and her bipartisan efforts."

The primary challenge was expected, and 50-year-old De Leόn's name had already circulated as a possible contender. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) included De Leόn as among those with a "willingness to challenge the status quo" who should aim to unseat Feinstein.

Politico noted last month that he "has joined forces with billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer to become a leading advocate on the issue of climate change. And, with his introduction of the California Values Act, also dubbed the Sanctuary State bill, he has assumed a leading role in the branding of California as the 'state of resistance' against Trump."

He's already garnered an endorsement from Democracy for America.

The group's executive director, Charles Chamberlain, said Californians "deserve two senators who will be relentless allies in their battle to stand up to the White House and take bold action on social, racial, and economic justice."

When Trump entered the White House, de León "immediately began working to pass policies that would help the people most immediately affected by Trump's bigoted, greedy policies," he continued.

"We won't defeat Trump and his Republican Party with corporate Democrats pushing Republican-lite policies and weak leadership. We win when candidates offer a progressive vision for America and fight to make it happen," Chamberlain said.

While Feinstein's "persistent right turns on a number of landmark votes" put her squarely at odds with progressive positions, De Leόn backed not Bernie Sanders but Hillary Clinton in her bid for the White House, and he's not expected to get the endorsement of Justice Democrats.

The California primary takes place June 5, 2018, with the top two candidates, regardless of party, advancing to the November election.

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