Between Steve Bannon going after “RINOs” and calls from the left to replace aging leadership in the Democratic Party, we were bound to see some primary challenges erupt from liberals. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is the first major Democrat to feel the heat from someone in her party. The challenger: California Senate Leader Kevin de León.
Feinstein has held the seat since 1992, which in itself says a lot about the challenges Democrats face. On one side, you have the “old guard” wanting to maintain as many steady hands as possible within a party that continues its push towards socialism, Medicare-for-All, and even outright communism. On the other side, you have the desire for youth and freshness in a party that no longer has a match between the demographic of elected officials and their voters.
This move has been rumored for a while but reached a fever pitch over the last two days. With the gubernatorial race getting crowded quickly and Los Angeles mayorship locked up tunil 2022, there weren’t many options for de León who is being forced out by term limits.
The nation will be watching this primary to see if progressive California will still hold on to their long-time champion or if they’ll trade her in for a newer model.
California Senate leader Kevin de León tells several Democrats he will challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein – LA Times
Rumors about De León challenging Feinstein crescendoed in recent days, notably after California’s senior senator formally launched her reelection campaign for a fifth full term on Monday. Unlike previous years, she has faced heated criticism in recent months from liberal critics who have said her measured approach is no longer representative of a state that has become home to “the resistance” to President Trump and his policies. Feinstein also drew rebukes from members of her party when she called for “patience” with Trump this summer, saying he could develop into a good president.
The backdrop: Feinstein “has faced heated criticism in recent months from liberal critics who have said her measured approach is no longer representative of a state that has become home to “the resistance” to President Trump and his policies,” the LA Times reports. But De León faces a tough fight. Feinstein is a respected veteran of the Democratic party and wealthy enough to fund her own campaign.
Term limits will force de León from office, and with a crowded field of Democrats lining up to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown, the Los Angeles politician is part of a generation blocked by the bottleneck of the party’s older guard. De León could wait to run for mayor of Los Angeles, but Eric Garcetti just won a 5 1/2-year term, and isn’t scheduled to leave City Hall until 2022.
De León represents downtown and East Los Angeles in the State Senate and serves as president pro tem, a term-limited position that he will have to relinquish after next year. He is making plans to visit Washington in the next two weeks for meetings with potential donors, according to one person helping with the planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about the plans.