Though there’s no hard and fast rule on the matter, custom dictates that a seasoned lawmaker would endorse their same-state, same-party colleague in his or her bid for the White House. But when it comes to California Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D) and Kamala Harris (D), all bets are off.
Feinstein has ended the tradition of endorsing her fellow Golden State senator, opting instead to give her blessing ahead of 2020 to her old friend, former Vice President Joe Biden, Politico reports.
This, despite the fact that Feinstein and Harris both serve as senators from California and both got their political careers started in the same place, San Francisco — Feinstein as mayor of the city, Harris as district attorney.
Feinstein and Biden go way back
“During my time in the Senate, I have been dedicated to finding common-sense solutions,” Feinstein said in a statement announcing the move. “In a Congress dominated by ideological polarization, we need a [p]resident that will deliver real solutions and has that same steadfast dedication to results.”
After taking an obligatory shot at President Donald Trump’s “hateful rhetoric and harmful policies,” Feinstein went on to assert that Biden will “continue the fight to restore the soul of the nation from the Oval Office.”
But while Feinstein’s endorsement going to Biden instead of Harris has been viewed as a damaging blow to Harris’ struggling campaign, it was not entirely unexpected — particularly in light of the fact that Feinstein and her husband recently hosted a fundraiser on Biden’s behalf.
Furthermore, Feinstein and Biden have a friendly relationship that stretches back decades, while Feinstein and her junior senator have only been working together for a couple of years now, and reportedly have an uneasy and somewhat distant working relationship.
Or, as one unnamed “high-profile” Democratic strategist simply put it: “Dianne has known Joe longer than Kamala’s been alive.”
Harris downplays endorsement snub
Of course, Politico noted that Harris’ campaign put out a statement that attempted to downplay the significance of the snub, suggesting that if Harris were to win the party’s nomination, Feinstein would come around.
But there are others in the know who suggest that Feinstein’s endorsement of Biden is a sign of her being a pragmatic and moderate centrist who is more focused on finding practical solutions to the problems that ail this nation, rather than idealistic partisan policy proposals that have no hope of ever becoming legislation.
While it was already something of a long-shot for Harris to win her party’s nomination to face President Donald Trump in 2020, being passed-over by her senior colleague in her own state likely stings quite a bit.
Will Kamala’s campaign be over before it really even gets started?