Often, when a presidential candidate is a senator and their fellow senator from the state is of the same party, it is only natural, if not expected, for the second senator to support the first senator’s candidacy.
That isn’t the case for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has thrown her considerable influence behind former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign instead of supporting her junior colleague, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Feinstein to fundraise for Biden
CNBC reported that Feinstein, along with her husband Richard Blum, will be hosting a fundraiser event on behalf of Biden in San Francisco on Oct. 3. Tickets for the event start off at $1,000 and max out at $2,800.
Feinstein declared her support for Biden’s candidacy months before his campaign was officially launched in April. However, this will be the first fundraising event for the 2020 election that the senator will have participated in.
“My candidate would be Joe Biden,” Feinstein told CNBC in January. “I watched him as vice president. I’ve seen him operate. I’ve seen him perform and I think he brings a level of experience and seniority, which I think is really important.”
Given the traditional camaraderie of senators from the same state, Harris might have hoped to receive support from Feinstein, but that was unlikely to happen.
Fox News noted that Feinstein and Biden have been close friends for a long time. They worked together in the Senate for upwards of two decades prior to Biden’s move to the White House alongside former President Barack Obama in 2008.
Indeed, Feinstein has revealed previously that she feels a certain loyalty to Biden. She credits him with being the person, as then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who helped her become the “first woman” to serve on that powerful committee.
Conversely, Harris has only served as the junior senator under Feinstein since 2016 and the two have yet to develop much of a relationship. In fact, Feinstein was less than effusive when speaking to the Los Angeles Times about Harris in January. “She’s brand-new here,” said Feinstein, adding, “It takes a little bit of time to get to know somebody.”
In 2004, Feinstein expressed regret for supporting Harris’ bid to be district attorney in San Francisco — where Feinstein once served as mayor — after Harris declined to pursue the death penalty for a gang member who shot and killed a police officer in cold blood. “This is not only the definition of tragedy, it’s the special circumstance called for by the death penalty,” Feinstein said at the officer’s funeral.
Different kinds of Democrats
It really should come as no surprise to anyone that Feinstein would choose to support Biden over Harris.
Though Sen. Feinstein certainly leans to the left on most issues, she is an old-school liberal Democrat who shares many of the same long-held — and increasingly viewed as “moderate” — positions as Biden. Harris, on the other hand, while more openly progressive, is whatever she thinks voters want her to be on any given day, and reshapes her positions on the issues accordingly.