Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will use a massive fundraising push, including a new super PAC, to defend her seat from a primary challenge by State Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).
On Monday, the day after De León announced that he would challenge Feinstein in the 2018 midterm election, a prominent Democratic campaign firm announced the launch of the “Fight for California” super PAC to back Feinstein.
The pro-De León “A Progressive California” super PAC was also launched Monday.
“We see the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. Senate under attack by political opportunists, and we are determined to fight just as hard for her as she fights for California,” Sean Clegg, a partner at SCN Strategies, which represents Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Kamala Harris, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and others, told the Los Angeles Times.
The limit for individual contributions to a U.S. Senate campaign is $2,700, and $5,000 from a political action committee or PAC. However, Super PACs are allowed to spend an unlimited amount of money on behalf of the candidate they choose to back, as long as they do not coordinate significantly with the candidate or campaign.
Aside from the fact that Feinstein, 84, has far better name recognition, De León, 50, may also see trouble in the war chest department, especially because he cannot use the $3 million he has in state campaign accounts in his federal race.
Feinstein, who is seeking her sixth term in office, has the support of the Democratic Party establishment in the Golden State. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is considered a potential presidential candidate for the Democrats in 2020, has also come out in support of Feinstein.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “As of June 30, the deadline for the state’s most recent campaign finance filings, de León had $886,000 left over from his 2014 campaign for state Senate and $2.82 million from a once-prospective 2018 run for lieutenant governor.”
According to the Sacramento Bee, “Feinstein had raised $3.6 million for her reelection through June, though she could turn to her personal fortune if pressed.”