Pelosi Backs Feinstein in California Senate Race

Feinstein faces Democratic challenger

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., endorsed Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Monday she is endorsing Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her bid for a fifth term.

California State Senate President Kevin de León, a Democrat, announced recently he would challenge Feinstein. He has argued the longtime senator is out of step with liberal Californians and is not fighting against President Donald Trump. Feinstein is expected to stress that her 25 years in the Senate has given her the power to take on the Trump administration. 

Pelosi announced in a statement she would back Feinstein, her California colleague.

“Senator Feinstein is a strong voice and a staunch advocate for the people of California. Dianne Feinstein is uniquely positioned to defend California against Donald Trump’s constant attacks on health care, immigration and voting rights,” Pelosi said. 

Pelosi previously pointed to Feinstein’s seniority as beneficial to California, when asked about de León’s challenge at an event with the Los Angeles Times. She also said she was not particularly concerned about the primary battle devoting resources from flipping key House seats in California. 

“People running against each other for office? That’s a democracy. That is not called a division,” Pelosi said. “It might divert resources, but it channels energy. And at the end of the day, we will have a Democratic senator. So that’s really not at risk.”

Feinstein will face de León in the June 5 primary. In the Golden State, candidates compete in a so-called jungle primary, where the top two contenders, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election. Billionaire Tom Steyer, who launched a campaign encouraging lawmakers to impeach Trump, is reportedly considering a run for Senate.  Businessman Joseph Sanberg is also weighing a run.

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