Obama endorses Feinstein amid challenge from left
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Former President Obama is endorsing Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems to challenge Kavanaugh for White House records Democrats question if Kavanaugh lied about work on terrorism policy Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints MORE (D-Calif.) as she faces a prominent Democratic challenger. 

Obama said in a Friday statement that he was giving his "strong endorsement" and calling Feinstein "one of America's most effective champions for progress to the Senate.”  
 
"She’s always been an indispensable leader for California, and we became dear friends and partners in the fight to guarantee affordable healthcare and economic opportunity for everybody; to protect our planet from climate change, and our kids from gun violence," he added. 

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Feinstein's reelection campaign blasted out the announcement on Friday, noting the two had worked on "shared priorities" when Obama was a senator and during his administration. 
 
Feinstein, 84, has held her the seat since 1992 but is facing frustration from liberals who believe her old-school Senate collegiality is out of touch in the era of President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE
 
She failed to secure the California Democratic Party’s endorsement earlier this year, winning 37 percent of delegates' votes compared to the 54 percent captured by state Senate leader Kevin de León (D). A candidate must win 60 percent of the vote to secure an endorsement. 
 
Feinstein heaped praise on Obama on Friday, calling him a "singular president" with a "remarkable legacy" and pledged to "carry his torch forward." 
 
"It means a great deal to me to receive President Obama’s endorsement, and I’m thankful and honored for his trust," she said.

In a shot at Trump, Feinstein added that Obama "had the grace, wisdom and even-handedness that we quickly came to expect from a president — and that we’re now so sorely disappointed by its absence."
 
Obama's endorsement comes after former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream Biden: Aretha Franklin was 'part of the soul of the civil rights movement' Biden to Trump: If you think revoking Brennan's clearance will silence him, 'you just don't know the man' MORE threw his support behind Feinstein in March. She's also been endorsed by House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi mocks McCarthy for tweet complaining of censorship Democrats should trade in identity politics for more inclusive policies Three scenarios for how leadership races could play out in the House MORE (Calif.) and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi Harris2020 hopefuls skeptical of criminal justice deal with Trump Kamala Harris prepares for moment in the spotlight Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies MORE (D-Calif.), who is considered a potential 2020 White House contender. 
 
Early and absentee voting for the race is scheduled to start on Monday. The primary is on June 5.