LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Although he lost the June 5 Democratic US Senate primary by more than 2 million votes to four-term incumbent Dianne Feinstein, State Sen. Kevin de Leon revealed hope his longshot bid to unseat Feinstein will be boosted by his July 14 endorsement by the California Democratic Party’s executive committee.
The committee endorsed Kevin de Leon with a 65 percent vote, compared with just 7 percent for Feinstein. Twenty-eight percent of the delegates abstained.
Feinstein, in office since 1992 and the senior member of the Senate Democratic caucus, had asked for her fellow Democrats to abstain in the vote, in the name of party unity.
Los Angeles County Democrats issued a statement calling de Leon a “progressive champion for California for years.”
“California has been lucky to have both United States Sen. Feinstein and (state) Sen. De Leon, and now we are officially ready to have Sen. De Leon grab the baton and run with it to our progressive victory line as United States Senator.”
On CNN, de Leon called the endorsement “a reflection of Californians that wanted change, that believes the status quo in Washington is simply not working for them.”
Feinstein responded by downplaying the vote, noting that de Leon is merely the highest-ranking of the 31 people who ran against her.
Under California’s top-two primary rule, de Leon is on the fall ballot against Feinstein, and no Republican is on the ballot.
It was the second rebuke by the progressive wing of the party this year to Feinstein, who at 85 is the oldest member of the Senate. She also was not endorsed in February, before Feinstein won the primary.
At the party convention in the Bay Area, Feinstein told Politico that she is spending more energy worrying about fighting the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the president’s conservative appointee to the Supreme Court.
“I think people understand I’m now ranking on (the Judiciary Committee), going into one of the biggest moments that this party has — the decisive Supreme Court justice,” Feinstein said. “This is a very big deal because this affects the life of every American going forward. So who that Supreme Court seat goes to is all-important.”
On CNN, de Leon said he would not run on anything other than calling for economic opportunity, affordable educational opportunities “and Medicare for all, not Medicare for some.”
He told CNN host Martine Savidge he is not trying to divide the Democratic Party.
“Choice is always a good thing, no one should ever sell you a different bill of goods, that choice is a bad thing,” he said.