Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein fended off a challenge from fellow-Democrat and state Senator Kevin De Leon in Tuesday’s midterm elections, winning her fifth term representing California in the U.S. Senate.
Feinstein, 85, was born in San Francisco and began her political career nearly 50 years ago. She served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1970 to 1978, and later as the city’s mayor from 1978 to 1988, before taking her seat in the U.S. Senate in 1992.
De Leon, who represents central Los Angeles in the state senate, campaigned as a more progressive democratic option, portraying Feinstein as an establishment politician too willing to compromise, and ultimately he received the endorsement of the California Democratic Party despite Feinstein’s incumbent status. Nevertheless, Feinstein was awarded support from most democratic officials in the state, and had the benefit of raising a whopping $20 million in campaign funds to De Leon’s mere $2 million.
The race was not unlike many that featured democrats facing off this midterm election in what some see as a fight for the soul of the Democratic party. The two asked voters to weigh the importance of Feinstein’s experience and record, against what some might see as De Leon’s ideological purity.
In the end, experience won. Feinstein, whose political career was born in San Francisco city government when De Leon was just three-years-old, came away with 54.3 percent of the vote.