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California's Next U.S. Senator Is A Choice Between A Negotiator And A Fighter

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California state Sen. Kevin de León is a day away from knowing if his fight against the “establishment” campaign has paid off in his run to become California's next U.S. Senator.

But things aren’t looking good. Recent polls show de León’s opponent, 26-year Democratic incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has a strong lead over him. And despite being endorsed by the California Democratic Party, de Leon has raised a mere $1.6 million for his campaign compared to Feinstein’s $16.5 million.

Both candidates faced off against one another just one time at a mild-tempered debate put together by the Public Policy Institute of California.  

Feinstein wants voters to know that she's a problem-solver who can work with politicians across the aisle. While accepting an award at a luncheon last week for female Democrats, she spoke about passing the first assault weapons ban through the United States Senate in 1994. The law was in place for 10 years.   

“People took my seriously,” Feinstein said. “They knew I could put it together, they knew I could negotiate. And that makes a difference.”

The senator also emphasized some of her top priorities: immigration reform, health care through a public option, and sexual assault legislation. In October, the senator unapologetically defended her decision to keep Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s letter about Justice Brett Kavanaugh confidential.

“I have seen enough now to know that we've got to make some changes,” Feinstein said. “We're gonna put together some legislation and kind of change the way things are done.”

De León pledges to provide Medicare for all, immigration reform, and to push back against the Trump administration.

“What is at stake now is the soul of our country. We have a president who is dismantling all of our democratic institutions,” de León said. “We need folks who are gonna speak truth to power and be on the front lines to fight for everyday Californians, not on the sidelines.”

De León has continuously touted himself as the candidate that will shake up Washington.

“These are very dangerous, very consequential times in our nation's history,” the state senator said. “We need a new voice. A voice of change. Someone who won't do the same-old same-old because [it’s] simply not working for the vast majority of Californians.”

De León says his opponent's moderate tone and political record are out of touch. Feinstein has dismissed de León as a termed-out politician looking for a new job.

 Election 2018

Nadine Sebai

Former Temporary State Government Reporter

Nadine Sebai was Capital Public Radio’s temporary state government reporter. Nadine is also a co-editor of Local Matters, a weekly newsletter showcasing investigative and watchdog news stories from local publications across the country.  Read Full Bio 

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