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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s forgotten U.S. Senate candidate has finally had a memorable moment.
Kevin de Leon, a sparsely known liberal legislator trying to oust U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, staged an insider coup Saturday by winning the endorsement of state Democratic Party leaders. The embarrassing snub to Feinstein was a testament to the leftward shift of California Democratic activists in the age of President Donald Trump, highlighting a long-running split between the party establishment and its restive liberal wing.
The article goes on to state the following:
But the benefit of de Leon’s star turn — occurring at a time when voters are thinking about the beach and barbeques, not the ballot box — is likely to be fleeting.
It’s “the strongest signal yet of just how far to the left California’s Democratic activists have moved, how emboldened they are by their party’s dominance in the state and how much the Trump presidency has polarized our politics,” said University of California, San Diego political scientist Thad Kousser.
“But it’s only a signal about the party’s most activist core, not a sign that everyday voters are choosing a pure progressive over a pragmatist,” Kousser said in an email. “It may breathe new life into a campaign that was on CPR … but it doesn’t chart a path to victory for a candidate who has always earned the strong support of activists while remaining a virtual unknown to the average California voter.”
So far, the state senator’s challenge to the more moderate Feinstein has been largely an annoyance for his fellow Democrat, rather than a threat to her winning a fifth, full term.
In the June primary Feinstein trounced de Leon, carrying every county in the state while he finished a distant second and struggled to break into double digits. California’s primary system sends only the two highest vote-getters to the general election, regardless of party.
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