Incumbent U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) took first place in Tuesday’s primary in California, easing her way into the general election in November, where she will compete for a fifth term in office.
She will face off against fellow Democrat and State Sen. Kevin de Léon (D-Los Angeles), who has less name recognition.
De Léon beat Republican James Bradley to finish in second place and advance to the general election, where he will face Feinstein. De Léon received 11 percent of the votes and Bradley received 9 percent.
In 2014, De León, 50, became the first Latino President pro Tem of the State Senate in more than a century.
Feinstein, 84, is the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was declared the top vote-getter with 43.8 percent of the votes, according to the State of California’s elections website.
She received former President Barack Obama’s endorsement in May.
De Léon, who had been trailing poorly in the polls and in fundraising, received the endorsement of billionaire left-wing donor Tom Steyer.
Feinstein, who was denied the California Democratic Party’s endorsement in February, will reportedly cruise into November’s contest with $7 million in her campaign war chest.
She is seen as being far more moderate than de Léon, who is running as the “progressive” candidate.
In February, De León told fellow legislators that “half my family” was in the country illegally. He also appeared to defend the practice of identity theft as a way for illegal aliens to survive, telling KPCC 89.3’s Air Talk with Larry Mantle, “Someone simply who received or purchased a [fraudulent] Social Security card down at McArthur Park, or elsewhere in my district would be eligible immediately for mass deportation.”
If Feinstein wins in November, as is highly likely, she will become the longest-serving U.S. senator in the Golden State’s history in the year 2022. Hiram Johnson, who served for 28 years in the U.S. Senate starting in 1917, was California’s longest-serving Senator and currently holds the record.
California’s top-two or “jungle” primary lets the state’s two highest vote-winners proceed to the general election regardless of party.
The last time two Democrats faced off in a general election in California was in 2016, when then-state Attorney General Kamala Harris defeated U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).