Obama endorses Feinstein amid challenge from left
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Former President Obama is endorsing Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrailer shows first look at Annette Bening as Dianne Feinstein Trump administration urges Congress to reauthorize NSA surveillance program The Hill's Morning Report - More talk on guns; many questions on Epstein's death 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 TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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 BidenJoe BidenGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Moulton says Biden would make 'fantastic president' MORE threw his support behind Feinstein in March. She's also been endorsed by House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Conservatives push Trump tariff relief over payroll tax cuts Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE (Calif.) and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate 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.