The California Democratic Party on Saturday, July 14 at an official political party gathering in Oakland voted in favor to officially endorse Los Angeles state legislator Kevin de Leon for his own U.S. Senate campaign against longtime incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein. Out of the 360 members of the state party’s executive board, de Leon received 65% of the vote with 217 votes, Feinstein received 7% of the vote with 22 votes, and 28% voted for abstention or no endorsement with 94 votes. Before the vote, Feinstein, who is the oldest member of the chamber at 85 years old, urged her fellow Democrats to stay neutral in the senate race as she competes against a younger, 51-year-old state senator like de Leon. Because of California’s top two primary or jungle primary system, whoever comes in first and second place during the June primary, regardless of partisan or non-partisan affiliations, will compete in the November general election.
This not the first time this relatively new system displayed electoral competition between two Democrats. When former Senator Barbara Boxer retired in 2016, Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and Attorney General Kamala Harriss were the top two candidates in the race. In the end, Harris won her race and now is a rising senator within her party. Sanchez’s sister, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, is a member of the House Democratic leadership.
De Leon, who is the current president of the California State Senate, is running on a progressive platform that includes a Medicare-for-All single-payer healthcare system, tuition-free and debt free public higher education, legalization of cannabis, and investments into renewable energies. Before his endorsement from the state party, De Leon has received endorsements from Congressman Ro Khanna, billionaire liberal donor Tom Steyer, and National Nurses United.
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