Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., appears poised to win re-election to a fifth term this fall but suffered a blow on Sunday as members of the California Democratic Party declined to give her an endorsement.
Delegates to the party’s annual convention voted 54 percent to 37 percent in favor of endorsing Feinstein’s primary challenger, state Senator Kevin de León.
De León fell short of the 60 percent needed to secure the party’s official endorsement, but the vote could still give him a boost in the uphill battle against Feinstein.
In a prepared statement, de León called the outcome of the endorsement vote an astounding rejection of politics as usual.
“It boosts our campaign’s momentum as we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder against a complacent status quo,” de León said.
He added, “California Democrats are hungry for new leadership that will fight for California values from the front lines, not equivocate on the sidelines.”
A report from the Politico said the vote was not unexpected, noting Feinstein has long maintained an uneasy relationship with activists who dominate state party conventions.
Despite the non-endorsement, Feinstein is likely to remain the frontrunner in the race, as she holds a significant financial advantage over de León.
A poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California last month showed Feinstein with a 46 percent to 17 percent lead over de León, although 33 percent of likely voters were undecided.