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Odds That Two Democrats Advance In California's U.S. Senate Race Increase

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the incumbent in the 2018 U.S. Senate race, but she failed to win the party's endorsement.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

No prominent Republican filed to enter the race for California Senate before Friday’s deadline. That could leave the field open for two Democrats to advance to the general election for the second consecutive time.

The absence of any prominent Republicans makes incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her fellow Democrat, state Senate leader Kevin de León, large favorites to place first and second in the June primary.

The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll found 46 percent of likely voters favoring Feinstein, 17 percent for de León, and about a third of voters undecided — mostly Republicans. The state GOP could choose to promote a lesser-known candidate who has filed in the race.

Under California’s open primary system, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the November election. That happened in 2016, with the state’s first open U.S. Senate race in 25 years. Then-Attorney General Kamala Harris beat Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.

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