On Thursday, the five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) over her Democrat challenger, and Los Angeles native, State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).
“Sen. Feinstein has been our strong partner on the critical issues confronting L.A. County … homelessness, healthcare, and transportation. Her support for our county hospitals, including her commitment to our new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, has been essential to our county’s healthcare system,” Board Chairman and 2nd District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
L.A.’s 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the lone Republican on the board, reportedly said, “I’ve worked with Sen. Feinstein for many years. She’s extremely knowledgeable and always prepared on the tough issues we confront. She’s a problem solver we can count on now and in the future.”
The endorsement is a major snub for de León and has added another obstacle to his election prospects, considering Feinstein also has far more cash on hand than he does and access to deeper pockets. De León appears to be using a populist, anti-Washington message to help him gain traction, but his lack of name recognition puts him in the same category as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) when he ran against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Capitol Weekly noted that 93% of voters know Feinstein while only 48% of the electorate do not even know who De León is.
The publication wrote, “Feinstein, like Clinton, is a centrist with a strong base in the party establishment. De León is somewhat a reflection of Sanders, but without the name recognition. He’s less of an outsider, with a strong portfolio of progressive legislative accomplishments.”
Feinstein has already secured backing from her party’s establishment and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has traditionally backed incumbents.
De León, on the other hand, was endorsed by former Gov. Howard Dean’s progressive political action committee (PAC) Democracy for America.
Capitol Weekly posits that De León, progressive as he is, could ultimately use his support for single-payer health care to garner some support in the nation’s liberal bastion.