The California Democratic Party failed to endorse longtime Senator Dianne Feinstein in her bid for reelection this weekend, with only 37 percent of members voting to support her. A whopping 54 percent voted to endorse Kevin de León, the leader of the California Senate who is running to replace Feinstein, though it takes 60 percent to receive an official endorsement.
de León used his speech at the convention to play against Feinstein’s record as a centrist Democrat and undermine her support from the more progressive wing of the party.
In his speech to the convention, de León reminded the crowd that his opponent hasn’t always been a reliable liberal. “Democrats, you’ll never have to guess where I stand,” de León said before noting that he has championed issues such as raising the minimum wage, single-payer health care and the environment.
“Moral clarity is always doing the right thing when no one is watching,” he said. “And it should never take a primary challenge to stand up for California values.”
He also noted that Feinstein once urged Democrats to rally around Donald Trump, and said that she believed he could be “a good president” if he was willing to “learn and change.” “I’m running for US Senate because the days of Democrats biding our time, biding our talk, are over,” de León said. “Leadership comes from human audacity, not from congressional seniority.”
Feinstein—thanks in large part to name recognition and fundraising prowess—is still handily outperforming de León in polls.