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California Democrats shocked Senator Dianne Feinstein by not endorsing her for re-election at their state convention Sunday, February 25, 2018. In photo, attendees hold signs saying 'Retire Feinstein' as U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks during a town hall style meeting at the San Francisco Scottish Rite Masonic Center on April 17, 2017 in San Francisco, California.

California Democrats shocked Senator Dianne Feinstein by not endorsing her for re-election at their state convention Sunday, February 25, 2018. In photo, attendees hold signs saying 'Retire Feinstein' as U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks during a town hall style meeting at the San Francisco Scottish Rite Masonic Center on April 17, 2017 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Democrats Shock Dianne Feinstein; Favor Challenger 54% to 37%

“The days of Democrats biding our time, biting our tongue, and triangulating at the margins are over,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León.

Common Dreams staff

California Democrats shocked Senator Dianne Feinstein by not endorsing her for re-election at their state convention Sunday.

Conservative Democrat Feinstein won just 37 percent of the 2,775 delegates’ votes, versus 54 percent for her challenger, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. Support from 60 percent of the delegates was needed to secure the party’s official endorsement.

“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 Sunday. “California Democrats are hungry for new leadership that will fight for California values from the front lines, not equivocate on the sidelines.”

“The days of Democrats biding our time, biting our tongue, and triangulating at the margins are over,” he said.

“California Democrats are hungry for new leadership that will fight for California values from the front lines, not equivocate on the sidelines,” de León said. “We all deserve a leader who will take our climate action to Washington, and will fight each and every day to protect our human and civil rights, our immigrant families and Dreamers, champion universal health care and create good paying middle class jobs.”

It was a jolting signal to the 84-year-old Feinstein, who has been in politics for five decades and was first elected to the Senate in 1992.

“The Democratic Party tends to endorse incumbents,” said Rose Kapolczynski, a veteran California Democratic strategist who ran former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s 2010 successful re-election campaign.

“It sends a message that the Democratic Party is a progressive party and they’re going for the candidate who they view is the more progressive candidate,” said Tom Steyer, the billionaire San Francisco activist who is close to de León but has not endorsed in the race. “Both of them have long histories of service to the state, to the country and to the party. And it’s pretty clear that Kevin is positioned as more progressive than Sen. Feinstein.”

Feinstein's oppostion to single-payer health care, her anti-marijuana stance, and her repeated votes for President Donald Trump’s nominations angered many California Democrats.


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