California Democrats withhold endorsement in Feinstein race

Amid America's most energized gun debate in years the National Rifle Association's executive vice president and CEO Wayne La Pierre slammed congressional Democrats and the media for its reaction to mass shooting and the calls for gun control

Amid America's most energized gun debate in years the National Rifle Association's executive vice president and CEO Wayne La Pierre slammed congressional Democrats and the media for its reaction to mass shooting and the calls for gun control

Protesters are planning to assemble Saturday outside the California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego as part of a "Working People's Day of Action, " according to a local labor organization. Dianne Feinstein at their annual convention over the weekend, denying her the party's endorsement in this year's Senate race and giving a majority of their votes to her liberal primary challenger. Her principal challenger, state Senate leader Kevin de León, received 54 percent of the vote, just short of the 60 percent threshold to capture the Democratic endorsement.

While party endorsement undoubtedly helps candidates and incumbents win a primary, Feinstein had previously secured a nomination without the Democratic-party backing. De Leon pitched himself as a fresh face who will fight harder for immigrants than Feinstein has. After she failed to obtain the state party endorsement, her longtime adviser argued that Feinstein, as a senior senator in Washington, D.C., could not shower party regulars with as much attention as de Leon could.

The rebuke of Feinstein by the party delegates comes even though the 25-year incumbent has led polls by wide margins and has received broad support from state party luminaries like Sen. The state senator has won the backing of more left-leaning unions, such as the SEIU and the California Nurses Association, and attacked Feinstein for conservative votes she cast after arriving in the Senate in 1993.

"If we do not unite around the strongest couple of candidates in this race, you end up with five candidates on the June 5th ballot", Democrat Mike Levin, a candidate to replace Issa, warned in his endorsement pitch. "In a jungle primary, the stakes have never been higher".

Most California voters say they don't know enough about de León to have an opinion about him. This time around, there's no Republican running in the contest, meaning a showdown between de Leon and Feinstein was likely from the start. And grass-roots activists are still seething, almost two years after Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary. Republican President Donald Trump's election has created a rallying cry for Democrats who need to win 24 seats nationwide to take back the U.S. House. In the 39th District, being vacated this year by Republican Rep. Edward R. Royce, eight Democrats and six Republicans are seeking runoff positions; in the 49th District, which Republican Rep. Darrell Issa almost lost in 2016 before retiring this year, five Democrats are running against four Republicans.

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