California Democratic state Senate president Kevin de León intends to enter California’s 2018 Senate race against Sen. Dianne Feinstein, three sources with knowledge of his plans say.
De León has begun calling labor leaders and elected officials to inform them of his plans, the sources said, and is expected to soon announce his campaign against Feinstein, a giant of California Democratic politics who has held the office since 1992.
The five-term Democratic senator from California, who is also, at 84, the Senate’s oldest member, provoked a flood of such speculation when she announced on Monday that she had decided to run yet again for re-election.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) officially declared her intention to run for reelection Monday, ending months of speculation about her future and probably avoiding what would have been an intense scramble of Golden State politics to succeed her.
“I am running for reelection to the Senate. Lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I’m all in!” Feinstein tweeted.
I am running for reelection to the Senate. Lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I’m all in!
— Dianne Feinstein (@DianneFeinstein) October 9, 2017
Now, reports say that California state Senate president Kevin de León will challenge Feinstein in the Democratic primary for one of the state’s US Senate seats next year. One of the most prominent Latino leaders in Democratic politics, De León is expected to campaign heavily against President Donald Trump. De León has begun calling labor leaders and elected officials to inform them of his plans, the sources said, and is expected to soon announce his campaign against Feinstein, a giant of California Democratic politics who has held the office since 1992.
De León began signaling he could oppose Feinstein in late August, after she said Trump could “be a good president” and that he “can learn and change”. Feinstein later clarified that she is “under no illusion that it’s likely to happen and will continue to oppose his policies.”
Feinstein’s overall standing among California voters remains fairly high – a 50 percent approval rating in an early September Berkeley IGS Poll – but that was down from 59 percent in March, dropping her below Harris. And a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll found that half of voters said she should retire.
In the last year, de León has tried to position himself as one of the leaders of the Trump resistance and has steered the state senate toward passing key progressive legislation, notably a gas tax hike and the recent bill declaring California to be a sanctuary state, which he authored. He also signed off on the senate’s controversial plan to set up a single-payer health care system, which stalled in the State Assembly.
H/t Conservative Politicus
Bauman agrees that the race would be a “heavy lift” for de León.
“I think these kinds of intra-party challenges often turn ugly, not because of the candidates but because of their supporters,” Bauman says. “Dianne’s supporters will talk about what she’s done, about her stature in the Senate, a house that runs on seniority. Kevin’s supporters will say it’s time for change, that the 2016 election should have taught us that we need to be more aggressive and take a new approach.
“Kevin speaks to immigrants and young people in a way that’s unique,” Bauman continues. “And I think many people are frustrated by the status quo — even though he’s a consummate insider — view him as an outsider with respect to Washington.”