Feinstein to face fellow Dem in November
BURLINGAME, Calif. — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) will face former state Senate President Kevin de Leon (D) in November, a matchup that will pit the traditional Democratic coalition against an ascendent, but still nascent, liberal wing.
With 97 percent of the precincts reporting, Feinstein led a crowded field of nearly 30 candidates with 44 percent of the vote. Her position in November’s general election was never in doubt Tuesday night, as she remained well ahead of the pack throughout the evening.
De Leon secured the second position in the runoff, The Associated Press projected Wednesday morning, with 11.3 percent of the vote.
The nearest Republican, businessman James Bradley, finished with just under 9 percent of the vote.
Feinstein, first elected to the Senate in 1992, has kept a low profile on the campaign trail in recent months, relying on high name recognition and a huge campaign war chest — partially self-funded — to pad her advantage.
De Leon, on the other hand, has stumped relentlessly in recent weeks in order to boost his own standing. He spent Monday stumping at a Laborers training center in San Ramon, east of Oakland, before jetting back to his base in Los Angeles for last-minute get-out-the-vote rallies.
“It’s more vital than ever that we as a state remain America’s beacon,” de Leon told a diverse crowd of laborers, whose union backed him in the primary. De Leon did not reference Feinstein, though he took aim at President Trump. “We celebrate our diversity. We don’t ban it, we don’t deport it, and we sure as hell don’t wall it off.”
Feinstein’s institutional support largely comes from traditional Democratic organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the United Farm Workers. De Leon has backing from more progressive groups like Daily Kos, local chapters of Our Revolution and the California Nurses Association, which supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
Voters interviewed Tuesday said they liked Feinstein’s seniority in Washington, and her willingness to stand up to the Trump administration — even if some did bring up the fact that, at 84, she is the oldest member of the Senate.
“She’s well respected. She’s insightful. A little long in the tooth, but right now I think there’s a certain lack of values” in Washington, said Bill Dimmer, a voter in this small town south of San Francisco. “I think she’s the balance.”
Feinstein begins the general election with the clear advantage, both politically and financially. She had raised more than $14 million through May 16, according to the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, and had $7 million in the bank, including $5 million she lent her own campaign in December.
De Leon had raised just $1.1 million and had $693,000 on hand three weeks before the primary.
—Ben Kamisar contributed.
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