Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders stated that he will not be endorsing the Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein as her primaries in California is about to start. Although Sanders has already endorsed several Democrats in other states, he apparently decided not to use his influence in California, where Feinstein is challenged from the left.
“It’s an issue for the people of California,” Sanders told The Hill.
Asked if that meant he would stay out of the race, Sanders responded, “Yeah.”
The Hill reports that although Sanders says the California race is for the people of that state to decide, on Thursday he announced that he would back liberal candidate Marie Newman in her primary challenge against Illinois Representative Daniel Lipinski who is a seven-term Democratic incumbent.
Newman also received endorsements from liberal Representative. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutiérrez, though House Democratic leaders are still backing Lipinski.
Feinstein’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Sanders’s remarks.
According to The Hill, it’s not a huge surprise that Sanders would not back Feinstein in the primary, and Feinstein may be relieved that the popular liberal is not endorsing her rival, Kevin de León, president pro tempore of the California state Senate.
Feinstein also failed to win an endorsement at California’s state Democratic convention last month, where she won only 37 percent of the vote. De León who won 54 percent also did not manage to get the 60 percent necessary to win the endorsement.
The challenger is backed by Sanders supporters who are pushing for more control over local parties.
De León is also pushing for the same proposals that started Sanders’s presidential campaign With pushing for Universal Medicare and free college tuition, De Leon argues that Feinstein is too much of a centrist, particularly in the era of President Donald Trump.
“California Democrats are hungry for new leadership that will fight for California values from the front lines, not equivocate on the sidelines,” he said in a statement after the state party convention.