The California Democratic Party declined to endorse U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein as she seeks her fifth term.
A majority of delegates to the state party's annual convention favored Kevin de Leon, the state Senate leader, over Feinstein, 54 percent to 37 percent, according to results announced Sunday. The vote followed two days of lobbying and speeches at the gathering.
De Leon called the vote "an astounding rejection of politics as usual," according to ABC News.
However, neither candidate garnered enough votes to receive the 60 percent threshold necessary to secure the party's endorsement.
Why did delegates favor de Leon over Feinstein?
Several delegates said Feinstein, 84, has been in Congress too long. She won her first full-term in the U.S. Senate in 1994 and has won the state party's endorsement every election since then — until now. Some Democrats believe she hasn't been "strong enough" on immigration issues, ABC News reported.
De Leon authored the sanctuary state legislation that went into effect this year, which prevents local and state authorities from participating in federal immigration activities.
He presented himself as a change agent during his speech at the convention and declared he's in touch with the state's progressives and would stand up for them.
“I’m running for the United States Senate because the days of Democrats biding our time, biting our tongue, and triangulating at the margins are over," De Leon said. “I’m running because California’s greatness comes from acts of human audacity, not congressional seniority.”
Whom do the polls favor?
Feinstein is leading by a wide margin in the polls, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
Her supporters said her tenure and backing of women rights makes her the best candidate.
"She has so much seniority, it's hard to give that up," Cathy Jorgensen, a delegate from Central Valley, said.
Feinstein also has a financial advantage over de Leon. At the end of 2017, she had nearly $10 million in cash on hand, and de Leon reportedly raised just $500,000 for his campaign.