The California Democratic Party refused to endorse Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her bid to serve a fifth term over the weekend.
In a vote taken at the party’s state convention on Sunday, the veteran lawmaker received 37 percent support among the delegates, while challenger state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León garnered 54 percent of the vote.
A 60 percent tally is needed to secure the party’s endorsement so neither candidate will have it as they head toward the primary election slated for June 5.
“The results were a sign of unrest among many liberals who believe Feinstein should do more to challenge President Trump — and a testament to de León’s insurgent message resonating with the party’s activist left flank,” the Mercury News reported.
“The outcome of today’s endorsement vote is an astounding rejection of politics as usual,” said de León in a statement.
Feinstein’s chief political strategist Bill Carrick played down the importance of the party’s non-endorsement, adding that de León would have little benefit from it. “The reality is, he’s way the hell behind,” he said.
A Public Policy Institute of California poll released early in the month found Feinstein with a 46 to 17 percent lead over de León, leaving 37 percent uncommitted at this point, Politico reported.
Perhaps representative of the sentiments of the far left in the Golden State’s toward its senior senator, The Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “Dianne Feinstein, 84, has spent her 4 full terms in the US Senate with great loyalty & servitude to the CIA & NSA & various wars. She now wants her 5th full term. But the California Dem Party just refused to endorse her.”
As was widely reported last August, Feinstein received significant blowback when she conjectured at an event in San Francisco that Donald Trump could be a “good president,” when asked about impeaching him.
“The question is whether he can learn and change,” she said after observing impeachment is an undesirable road. “If so, I believe he can be a good president, and that’s my hope.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported, “the crowd reacted with stunned silence, broken only with scattered ‘No’s’ and a few hisses and some nervous laughter.” The article stated that kind of talk is “never heard in Democratic circles.”
Feinstein issued a statement clarifying what she meant the next day.
“The duty of the American president is to bring people together, not cater to one segment of a political base; to solve problems, not campaign constantly,” the senator said. “While I’m under no illusion that it’s likely to happen and will continue to oppose his policies, I want President Trump to change for the good of the country.”
“I’ve been strongly critical of President Trump when I disagree on policy and with his behavior,” she added.
Feinstein, who is now the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has shown a willingness to work in a bi-partisan way in the past.
She was one of the “Gang of 14” senators who reached an agreement to end the filibuster of certain George W. Bush court of appeals appointees in 2005.
Following the Parkland high school shooting last week, Feinstein has been pushing hard to re-institute the assault weapons ban she helped champion in the mid-1990’s, which is an issue that will appeal to her Democrat base.
The senator has tweeted nearly 40 times about gun control since last Wednesday’s shooting.
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