Leaders of the California Democratic Party on Saturday voted overwhelmingly to endorse Kevin de León for the US Senate over incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
De León, a more liberal, activist voice within the party, recently served as California State Senate president pro tempore and currently represents parts of Los Angeles. Feinstein, the leading Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is seeking her fifth full term in the Senate.
De León garnered 65% of the vote among the party’s executive board members, Feinstein received 7% of the vote, and 28% voted “no endorsement.” Sixty percent of the vote was needed for the party to officially endorse a candidate.
In a statement shortly after the endorsement, de León renewed his call for a debate against Feinstein and celebrated the win.
“Earning the endorsement of so many leaders and activists of the California Democratic Party isn’t just an honor and a privilege; today’s vote is a clear-eyed rejection of politics as usual in Washington, D.C.,” de León said in the statement. “Through years of hard-won progress, we have proven to the world that California can forge a path for the rest of the nation.”
Appearing on CNN Sunday, de León took aim at Feinstein, saying, “Now is not a time for complacency or someone to plead patience and hope that perhaps with fingers crossed that Donald Trump could learn and become a good President in the future.”
Instead, he said Californians need “someone on the front lines doing everything in their power to move the policies that improve the human condition.”
Feinstein’s campaign manager, Jeff Millman, touted the senator’s Democratic primary election results.
“While 217 delegates expressed their view on Saturday, Senator Feinstein won by 2.1 million votes and earned 70% of the Democratic vote in the California Primary election, carrying every county by double digits over her opponent,” Millman said in a statement. “We are confident that a large majority of California Democrats will vote to reelect Senator Feinstein in November.”
The incumbent was also denied the California Democratic Party’s endorsement in February when she sought it at the state’s convention. Then, de León was not able to earn their endorsement outright, but he did secure enough votes (54%) to prevent one for Feinstein, who received just 37% of the delegates’ votes.
CNN’s Maeve Reston contributed to this report.