The California Democratic Party decided not to endorse in the U.S. Senate contest on Saturday, an embarrassing rebuke of veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Feinstein, who has represented California in the Senate for a quarter-century, is facing an insurgent bid by fellow Democrat, state Senate leader Kevin de León. Though De León did not get the endorsement, his success in blocking Feinstein from receiving it shows that his calls for generational change and a more aggressively liberal path have resonated with some of the party’s most passionate activists.
Feinstein has never been a state party glad-hander, while De León has cultivated relationships with the party’s delegates. He still faces a significant challenge in trying to topple Feinstein, who trounces De León in all public polling and fundraising.
The party also did not endorse a Democrat for California governor, an expected outcome.
Votes cast by delegates at the party’s annual convention Saturday splintered among the four top Democrats in the race: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Treasurer John Chiang, former state schools chief Delaine Eastin and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
A candidate had to capture 60% of the delegates’ votes to win the party’s seal of approval, considered unlikely given the field of politicians in the race with deep ties to the state party.
There were also no endorsements in the races for lieutenant governor or state attorney general.
In the other statewide races, delegates of the state Democratic Party voted to endorse the following party members: incumbent Betty Yee for state controller; state Sen. Ricardo Lara for insurance commissioner; incumbent Alex Padilla for secretary of state; Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma for state treasurer; and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond for state superintendent of public instruction.