After 25 years in representing California in the US Senate, Dianne Feinstein says she wants another whack at it. She took to Twitter, saying there is “lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I’m all in!”
Feinstein is the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the first woman to hold that role. She is also a senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and was the first woman to lead the panel, from 2009 through 2015.
Although she occupies what is likely the safest of the 25 Democratic Senate seats up for grabs in 2018, the media is chock full of speculation about a primary challenge coming from the progressive wing of the party.
Via Daily Kos:
Although Feinstein hasn’t had to seriously worry about a Republican opponent in a near quarter-century, an intra-party challenge from Democrats may be in the works. The incumbent is relatively within the party’s mainstream at the national level, but she is a relative centrist compared to California’s more progressive Democrats. That’s been revealed as particularly true on national security issues and foreign policy over the course of her service as the the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Intelligence and Judiciary committees. She also voiced skepticism about single-payer health care proposals earlier this year.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, and two rich guys –environmental advocate Tom Steyer and earned income proponent Joe Sanberg— lead the pack of potential competitors, according to press accounts.
The Sacramento Bee reports Silicon Valley Democrat Representative Ro Khanna has privately urged Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich to run and that neither are interested in the position.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, often mentioned in the press as potential Senate candidates, both endorsed Feinstein almost immediately, as did party heavyweights Sen. Kamala Harris and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Justice Democrats, a group inspired by progressive former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, has yet to back a candidate, despite earlier declarations about the need to primary Feinstein.
Declarations of intent from lesser-known people from the Democratic party include Topher Brennan (software engineer at Google), Eugene Patterson Harris (attorney), David Hildebrand (legislative analyst), John Melendez (radio personality), Douglas Howard Pierce (perennial candidate), Steve Stokes (activist).
The Green Party candidate is Eric Frame(activist).
Declared Republican candidates include Timothy Charles Kalemkarian (perennial candidate), Caren Lancona (businesswoman), and Stephen James Schrader (veteran). Media accounts have mentioned San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, and television personality Caitlyn Jenner as potential candidates.
Senator Feinstein’s age and generally centrist political sentiments have been discussed as reasons she should be challenged.
From the Sacramento Bee:
More than half of the state’s registered voters think it would be a “bad thing” if Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic fixture in California politics, were to run for a sixth term in Congress next year, according to a new statewide poll released Monday.
Voters were narrowly split over whether Feinstein should run for re-election, with 52 percent saying no and 48 percent saying a 2018 run would be a “good thing” for California, according to the Berkeley IGS Poll. When reminded that Feinstein will be 84 next year, the split widens, with 62 percent of voters suggesting she shouldn’t run.
California’s top-two primary system gives an incumbent like Feinstein an advantage. Regardless of party affiliation, only the second place challenger will advance to the general election.
With statewide GOP registration down to 27% and falling, it’s possible a well-known progressive Democrat could –depending on the number of Republicans running– make it into the general election.
Getting to the November runoff will present even more challenges for any candidate taking on Feinstein from the left. Back to Daily Kos:
Even if a more progressive Democrat makes it to the general election against Feinstein, the incumbent may be able to count on the support of Republicans and centrist voters if they view her as the more centrist option. However, that’s not guaranteed, since there’s evidence that a same-party general election causes participation to plummet among voters who backed the party that got shut out in the primary. When there was an all-Democratic general election in 2016’s open Senate race, Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s attempts to reach out to GOP voters fell flat as she lost to now-Sen. Kamala Harris in a 62-38 landslide.
Every day I get up to write this column and tell myself to write about something other than Donald Trump. It’s always a challenge. And so it goes.
The one great thing about Tennessee Senator Bob Corker’s recent spat with the President is that it appears to have opened the door–finally–to discussions about just how loco #45 really is.
From Raw Story:
CNN media critic and “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter today said that he’s prepared to make the argument that there’s “no bigger story in America right now” than whether or not President Donald Trump is fit for office or whether his emotional outbursts and lack of focus make him patently unsuited for the job.
“We’ve come to expect President Trump to attack via Twitter,” Stelter said, “but to see Corker attack back, to use his ‘adult day care center line,’ is incredible. I would make the case that there’s no bigger story in America today than the fitness of the president of the United States.”
“Is he fit for office? Is he stable for office?” he asked. “And that’s what Corker is getting at. He’s getting at that big, uncomfortable story about whether the president needs babysitting at the White House.”
From the Washington Post:
In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem.
In doing so, Trump is laboring to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign — especially after the embarrassing defeat of Sen. Luther Strange in last month’s Alabama GOP special election, despite the president’s trip there to campaign with the senator.
Sen. Bob Corker’s brutal assessment of Trump’s fitness for office — warning that the president’s reckless behavior could launch the nation “on the path to World War III” — also hit like a thunderclap inside the White House, where aides feared possible ripple effects among other Republicans on Capitol Hill.
The Washington Post Fact Checker, by the way, now credits President Trump with 1,318 false or misleading claims over the 263 days he’s been in office.
Then there’s this little gem from Politico:
Publicly, the White House has pushed back against Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s suggestion that Trump must be managed like a toddler — he called the White House an “adult day care center” on Twitter on Sunday. In a separate New York Times interview, Corker said aides are forced to spend their days trying to keep the president from going off the rails.
But interviews with 10 current and former administration officials, advisers, longtime business associates and others close to Trump describe a process in which they try to install guardrails for a president who goes on gut feeling — and many days are spent managing the president, just as Corker said.
Meanwhile, at the White House this morning:
The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
Senator Corker, by the way, knew the interview was recorded and had two of his aides listening in and also recording the conversation. #Liddle ?
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