Three major candidates are seeking the six-year U.S. Senate term on the California ballot this November. Pete Wilson won the office in 1988, serving until he was elected governor in 1990. His appointee, John Seymour, was defeated two years later when voters chose Dianne Feinstein to finish the term.
Now Feinstein seeks reelection to a full term. She came into the election year as a formidable candidate. As a result, she has no major challenge in the Democratic primary and, so far, her campaign has had a low profile. The former San Francisco mayor spent most of the spring in Washington and has not aired any television commercials, preferring to wait to see whom the Republicans select to challenge her.
Seeking the Republican nomination are two major candidates. One is Michael Huffington, a freshman congressman from Santa Barbara who has promised to generously finance his campaign from the fortune he earned in his family's Texas oil and gas company.
The other is former Orange County Rep. William E. Dannemeyer, who has support from the party's conservative wing.
A third Republican candidate, Riverside attorney Kate Squires, has excited some GOP conservatives. But with little money and no political experience, her campaign has been unable to attract wide support.