What to Watch for in the California Senate Race

Feinstein remains favored, but the field is still in flux.

California's Democratic United States Senators, Dianne Feinstein, left, and Kamala Harris, walk together to speak at the 21st Annual Lake Tahoe Summit, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. The summit is gathering of federal, state and local leaders to discuss the restoration and to sustain Lake Tahoe.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
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Kimberly Railey
Nov. 2, 2017, 9:50 a.m.

While most California Democrats see Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a strong position for reelection, several aspects of her challenge from Democratic state Senate President Kevin de León remain in flux.

For starters, the Democratic field could grow, and heavy attention in the state is centered on whether billionaire Tom Steyer will mount a bid. Wealthy entrepreneur Joseph Sanberg is weighing a campaign as well, though an aide last week declined to answer when he would make a decision.

Democrats are also watching the extent to which the Latino community rallies around de León, the first Hispanic to lead the state Senate in more than a century. Oscar Ramirez, a top Latino Democratic donor, said Hispanics are generally excited by his candidacy but are taking a “wait-and-see” approach to gauge his viability.

While the state leans strongly Democratic, it is also unclear whether Republicans will field a credible candidate to run. Without one on the top-two primary ballot, the Democrat-vs.-Democrat matchup would likely extend to November, just as the Senate race did in 2016.

-- Kimberly Railey


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