The California Democratic Party refused to endorse Sen. Dianne Feinstein for a fifth term at their convention over the weekend, indicating a growing disconnect between the moderate senator and her liberal constituency.
The endorsement of a sitting senator should have been a cake walk. But Feinstein, 84, encountered a an angry party convention, with delegates complaining they hadn’t seen her for decades and questioning her votes on the Iraq War and wiretaps and her stances on healthcare and minimum wage. Last-minute efforts by Feinstein to work the crowd and highlight her progressive ideology did little to change the picture.
Feinstein, the longest-serving Jewish member of the U.S. Senate, received only 37% of her state party’s votes. Her main rival, state senate leader Kevin de León, won 54%. Both fell short of the 60% threshold required in order to receive the party’s endorsement.
The vote was likely a setback for both candidates, who will face each other in the party primary in June and then likely again in November, since under California rules the top two primary vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party. Feinstein will be embarrassed by the lack of endorsement, and De Leon could have used the party’s official endorsement to combat his deficits in cash and name recognition.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Feinstein Loses Her Own Party’s Endorsement