Bernie Sanders declared that he will not be endorsing Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, ahead of her primary in California. The Vermont Senator made the announcement just weeks after the California Democratic Party concluded that they will not endorse any candidates in the upcoming United States Senate and gubernatorial races this fall.
Sanders told The Hill, "It’s an issue for the people of California," and confirmed that he will stay out of the Californian race because it is up to the people of California to make this decision. He did, however, say on Thursday that he would back liberal candidate Marie Newman in the primary against Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, a seven-term Democratic incumbent.
Feinstein and her rival Kevin de León did not win an endorsement California’s state Democratic convention last month after Feinstein won only 37 percent of the vote and De León won 54 percent. In order to win the endorsement, a candidate would have needed at least 60 percent of the vote.
Sanders' announcement may come as good news for Feinstein: De León is advocating for free college tuition, universal Medicare, and other proposals that Sanders was also fighting for in his 2016 campaign. De León believes Feinstein is too much of a centrist, which is not a compliment coming from another Democrat in the Trump era. After the California Democratic convention, De León said, "California Democrats are hungry for new leadership that will fight for California values from the front lines, not equivocate on the sidelines."
Feinstein has represented California in Congress since 1992 and served as Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988. The Hill did not get a response from a spokesman for Feinstein in regards to Sanders' comments.
Feinstein backed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race. She also pushed Sanders to drop out of the race in May of 2016. Sanders did not drop out until July.