The California Democratic Party endorsed State Sen. Kevin de Léon (D-Los Angeles) over incumbent U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Saturday, as the two Democrats prepare to face off in the November general election.
“The California Democratic Party’s Executive Board voted Saturday night to endorse state Sen. Kevin de León for U.S. Senate over Sen. Dianne Feinstein. De León received 65 percent of the vote, compared to just 7 percent for Feinstein. An endorsement required 60 percent,” Bay Area public radio station KQED reported.
De Léon holds far-left views on immigration, gun control, and other issues. Last year, he admitted that half of his family was in the country illegally. Earlier this year, he appointed an illegal alien to a statewide office. He is also the author of SB 54, one of the three surviving “sanctuary state” laws that the Trump administration challenged earlier this year.
On Friday night, the eve of the endorsement vote, De Léon hosted an “ABOLISH ICE CREAM SOCIAL” for members of the California Democratic Party executive board.
— David Atkins #11Justices (@DavidOAtkins) July 14, 2018
The U.S. Senate race in California is an all-Democrat affair, thanks to the state’s “top two” or “jungle” primary system, which pits every candidate from every party against each other on a common ballot. The top two vote-winners advance to the general election, regardless of party.
Feinstein, who is seeking a fifth full term at the age of 85, won 44.2% of the vote in the June 5th primary. De Léon only won 12.1%, but advanced to the general election thanks to the fact that the Republican vote was split among several candidates.
De Léon enjoys the support of the party’s “progressive” wing, and the backing of left-wing mega-donors such as Tom Steyer. Feinstein enjoys the endorsements of her party’s national leadership, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Feinstein has led widely in the polls, but knew she would face an uphill battle for her party’s endorsement in the general election after members endorsement to endorse her in the primary. She therefore urged the party’s executive board members to remain neutral in the race.
The Associated Press reported that six Democrats running for U.S. House of Representatives seats in key districts targeted by the party urged members of the party’s state board to heed Feinstein’s plea for neutrality.
“A divisive party endorsement for U.S. Senate would hurt all down-ballot candidates and our ability to turn out Democrats we desperately need to vote in November,” they reportedly wrote.
The party’s endorsement is not likely to boost De Léon’s poll numbers in the short term, but it will help him raise money and could embolden other “progressives” to support him against the wishes of the national party establishment.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.