July 16 (UPI) — The California Democratic Party voted not to endorse longtime incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Saturday, and instead overwhelmingly chose her primary challenger, former State Sen. Kevin de León.
Feinstein, who has served as a California Senator since 1992, only garnered 7 percent of the vote in the 330-member executive board, while de León won 65 percent.
“Earning the endorsement of so many leaders and activists of the California Democratic Party isn’t just an honor and a privilege; today’s vote is a clear-eyed rejection of politics as usual in Washington, D.C.,” de León said in a statement. “Through years of hard-won progress, we have proven to the world that California can forge a path for the rest of the nation.”
The decisive victory for de León was seen as an indication that California Democrats prefer a more progressive representative than Feinstein, 84, who has been criticized as being out of touch and too conservative.
“I just think we need a younger, progressive person there,” state Democratic committee member Lynne Standard-Nightengale told the Los Angeles Times. “The Democratic Party in California has moved to the left, and he personifies those values.”
However, California voters may feel differently than the state’s Democratic Party board members. Feinstein handily beat de León in the party’s primary last month, 44 percent to 12 percent. California has a top-two system and de León’s 12 percent was enough to get second place and his name on the November ballot.
Feinstein also has much more money in her campaign war chest than de León. According to the Times, Feinstein had $7 million on hand in May, which was 10 times what de León had.