Obama endorses Feinstein amid challenge from left
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Former President Obama is endorsing Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinPoll: Feinstein holds 18-point lead over challenger Durbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’ Sen. Walter Huddleston was a reminder that immigration used to be a bipartisan issue 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 TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: 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 BidenTrump: 'You know what I am? I'm a nationalist' Biden jokes about Obama memes: 'Barack did the first friendship bracelet, not me' 'Broad City' stars urge Clinton not to run again MORE threw his support behind Feinstein in March. She's also been endorsed by House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi: 'Follow the money' to understand Trump-Saudi relations Pelosi says Dems would 'handily' win House if election were held today Ben Shapiro condemns Republicans confronting Nancy Pelosi: ‘Stupid, nasty, and counterproductive’ MORE (Calif.) and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris presses young people to vote early in Iowa trip We need economic progress for more Americans Booker bill would create federally funded savings account for every child 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.