Kevin de León made it official. He's challenging Diane Feinstein for her U.S. Senate seat. I understand his desire to run. De León wants to be a senator. He wants to have a bold progressive in office. They think California, the leader of the resistance, is perfect for that. Clinton did win 30 points here after all.
Beating Dianne Feinstein one-on-one in a Democratic primary would be hard to do. She's got name ID, money, and is beloved. Feinstein is the establishment Democrat (Hillary Clinton) and de León's is the bold progressive Bernie Sanders. Sanders couldn't beat Clinton in a Democratic primary in California. He lost by 7%.
But wait. Am I forgetting that top two means no Democratic primary? I haven't, but I think de León has. Yes, it's possible de León finishes 2nd in the primary. It's debatable whether it's possible for him to finish 1st. Even if he does there's no way Feinstein finishes 3rd. He has to go up against Feinstein in November.
But wait. Am I forgetting that Kamala Harris won a Senate seat and she's fairly progressive? No, because Harris was running against an unknown Loretta Sanchez and de León is running against Dianne Feinstein. Harris didn't run on progressive policies. She never mentioned the environment, healthcare, or immigration. She ran on how she was a fearless fighter who sued everyone on behalf of Californians. Few people would be against a candidate the big corporations to cough up bucks for the average Californian.
Kevin de León's record isn't that he was the attorney general who took on big banks. His record is progressive champion and he wants to let you know Trump "demonizes our diversity. Attacks our civil rights, our clean air, our health access and our public safety." He's running on the idea that Trump is terrible and his voters are deplorables. While I shudder at a politician showing contempt for any of their constituents, the resistance will love it the more he does it.
If de León makes top two he won't be in an election with only Democratic voters. He'll have Republicans and moderate NPPs. They'll be somewhere between 34-41% of the electorate, but there'll be blank ballots. So the numbers may be 29-35%. If they are 33% and Feinstein takes 80% of them, de León would have to beat Feinstein 65%-35% with left leaning voters. Sanders got 46.5% of the vote. How's de León going to get 65%.
I'm doubtful de León gets 20% of right leaning voters. His ads will emphasize how he's going to stop the evil Trump is and how progressive he is. Harris gave Republicans a reason to vote for her. He's running on how he doesn't want their votes. Will de León even send mailers to Republicans to get their votes? What would those mailers say?