California Democrats deny Sen. Feinstein an endorsement for its primary

As he sought to wrest the California Democratic Party's endorsement away from longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein, her ups...

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 6:56 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 6:56 AM

As he sought to wrest the California Democratic Party's endorsement away from longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein, her upstart challenger, Kevin de Le-n, made an impassioned argument to state delegates Saturday that the time had come for a new generation of leadership in the Senate.

While he was not able to earn their endorsement outright, he did secure enough votes (54%) to prevent one for Feinstein, who received just 37 percent of the delegates' votes.

In an aggressive speech at the California Democratic Party convention, De Le-n said Democrats deserve a progressive senator who fights on the "front lines," who doesn't "equivocate on the sidelines."

"I'm running for US Senate because the days of Democrats biding our time, biding our talk, are over," said De Le-n, who is the leader of the California Senate. "Leadership comes from human audacity, not from congressional seniority."

He faulted Feinstein for her initial approach to President Donald Trump -- which infuriated Democratic activists here -- mocking her for saying last August that she believed Trump "can be a good president" if he had the ability to "learn and to change."

Charging that Feinstein is out of step with the progressive direction of the party, De Le-n pointed to a litany of issues where he said he disagrees with the senior senator, including school vouchers, allowing federal agents to spy on American citizens, and her past support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said he would never have supported prosecuting 13-year-olds as adults "in a criminal justice system propped up by institutional racism" (an apparent reference to her support for the 1994 crime bill). De Le-n also chided Feinstein's approach to immigration, charging that he would never use the so-called Dreamers "as a bargaining chip."

"We demand passion, not patience. We speak truth to power," said De Le-n said. "And we've never been fooled into thinking that Donald Trump could be a good president. ... Being good sometimes is not good enough."

Feinstein did not mention her Democratic opponent at all.

In the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, she focused her remarks on her decades-long advocacy for an assault weapons ban, which was phased out in 2004. She criticized Trump for suggesting that teachers should be armed.

"I thought after Sandy Hook there would never be another school shooting, yet after Sandy Hook, 400 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings," Feinstein said. "Last year, 26 of us in the Senate introduced a new assault weapons ban, and passing it now is my quest. It's my mission. I am absolutely committed to achieving this."

"Now is the time to take those weapons of war off our streets," she said to applause.

De Le-n got a far warmer welcome than his opponent on the convention floor. But he had to receive 60 percent of the delegate votes to get the Democratic endorsement, a threshold he did not meet.

De Le-n enjoys a close kinship with many of the state delegates, who tend to be far more liberal than the average California voter.

Even had De Le-n notched the endorsement, Feinstein is still heavily favored to win in November -- in part because of her nearly unlimited resources, and her support among California independents and some Republicans.

Dan Newman, a Democratic strategist for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and US Sen. Kamala Harris, said a party endorsement for De Le-n would be "the apex of his campaign," but that it was unlikely to have an impact on the outcome in the Senate race because of Feinstein's near universal name recognition.

"He still faces an electorate that largely doesn't know who he is, and the tremendous amount of respect and reverence for Senator Feinstein because of her decades of work, particularly on the issue that is energizing Democrats more than any other right now," said Newman, who supports Feinstein.

Governor's race

Delegates began voting Saturday evening on endorsements for the statewide races, including the US Senate seat and the California governor's race. The endorsement battle was far more competitive in California governor's race where John Chiang and Gavin Newsom were locked in a close race for the party's nod.

"The time for timidity is over," said Newsom, touching on his history of becoming the first mayor to marry same-sex couples, passing the state's highest minimum wage, and pushing for the first citywide universal health care plan when he was mayor of San Francisco. "My opponents in this race have spent a lot of time telling us what can't be done."

"My whole life we have faced down skeptics, defeatist Democrats who have suggested we need to pick our battles," Newsom said. "California has never succeeded by playing it safe."

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, made the case that his life experience growing up in poverty had prepared him for the challenges of the governor's office.

"Millions of Californians are worker harder than ever before, and they are still falling further and further behind," Villaraigosa said. "There are two Californias, one rich and getting richer, and another where millions of hardworking families are still struggling to make their California dream come true. But it doesn't have to be this way. They call us the Golden State and we can shine again."

Villaraigosa, who has long trailed Newsom with his fundraising efforts, threw a few jabs in his rival's direction. At one point, he noted that he learned about poverty and the middle-class struggle through his own life experience, not at "a panel at Davos."

Without mentioning their names, Chiang took shots at both Newsom and Villaraigosa. He alluded to the fact that both weathered embarrassing episodes when their past marital problems spilled into the public eye.

"You deserve a governor with integrity to lead and the character to make every Californian proud," said Chiang, who is state treasurer. "You deserve a governor you can trust, a governor with the credibility to go after sexual harassers."

Chiang tried to position himself as the best candidate to stand up to Trump, noting he had experience standing up to "racist bullies" when he was a child.

After the votes were tallied, no consensus was reached for a gubernatorial candidate. Newsom received the highest percentage of votes with 39%, followed by Chiang with 30%, Delaine Eastin with 20%, and Villaraigosa with 9%.

The endorsement caucuses Saturday night could also could be a key factor in narrowing the field in the seven congressional races in California that are key to Democrat's hopes of winning back the House of Representatives.

Party officials are concerned that the large field of Democratic candidates in several races -- including the contests to replace retiring Republican House members Darrell Issa and Ed Royce -- could actually put Democrats in a scenario where they split the vote, creating a path for the Republican candidates.

Though voting took place in those congressional races Saturday night, the results will not be final until they are certified on the convention floor Sunday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30900

Reported Deaths: 1111
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds249840
DeSoto159416
Madison130034
Jones112449
Neshoba98871
Rankin93412
Harrison91211
Lauderdale90979
Forrest86942
Scott77115
Jackson62216
Copiah60215
Washington5849
Leake57819
Holmes55341
Lee54718
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51518
Yazoo5096
Leflore48751
Grenada4835
Lowndes48313
Lincoln46034
Lamar4587
Pike43112
Monroe40130
Lafayette3914
Sunflower3727
Attala36023
Covington3565
Panola3506
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Simpson3173
Adams31118
Pontotoc2866
Tate28310
Marion28111
Chickasaw27718
Claiborne27410
Noxubee2638
Jasper2626
Winston2616
Pearl River25432
Clay25010
Marshall2323
Smith21811
Clarke20724
Union2079
Coahoma2016
Walthall1995
Kemper17914
Lawrence1772
Yalobusha1707
Carroll16511
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1322
Calhoun1304
Tippah13011
Hancock12813
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George883
Tishomingo801
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn692
Perry664
Stone651
Franklin452
Sharkey370
Benton360
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 44375

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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