Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein launched an informal fundraising blitz, hours after she announced on Twitter Monday that she plans to seek re-election next year.
High-profile Democrats, including her U.S. Senate colleague Kamala Harris, quickly scrambled to publicly state their support for Feinstein, who has dodged questions for months about her future political plans. Harris is among Democratic elected officials, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, seeking to help Feinstein in her 2018 re-election bid. Harris sent out an email blast Monday asking for donations to Feinstein’s campaign as small as $3.
Harris and Feinstein differ widely on their approach to politics and policy. Their contradictions have been on display in recent months, with Harris calling for a national, government-funded health care system and Feinstein balking at the approach, known as single-payer. Feinstein has also called for patience with President Donald Trump, while Harris has added fuel to left, saying at several public events this year that now is the time to fight.
“Since joining the Senate in January, I have found few better allies in our fight to stop the radical agenda of Donald Trump than Dianne,” Harris said in the fundraising email. She’s joined with us in every major fight, helping to shape the debate on issues like climate change, gun violence and saving the Affordable Care Act. The truth is we have many tough fights ahead, but I believe we can win them as long as we have fearless allies like Dianne Feinstein in the Senate.”
Garcetti is holding a fundraiser for her tonight at the home of philanthropist Erika Glazer in Beverly Hills. A website in support of Feinstein is seeking campaign donations ranging from $100 to $5,400 per ticket. She has already begun raising money, and was at a San Francisco fundraiser in late August with developer and Sacramento lobbyist Darius Anderson.
Feinstein, 84, is still facing challengers from the left. Two opponents, both of whom align themselves with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, blasted Feinstein. Sacramento resident David Hildebrand, an analyst for the state Department of Motor Vehicles who calls himself a Democratic socialist, labeled Feinstein a “corporate politician.” Pat Harris, a Studio City attorney, also criticized Feinstein, saying on Twitter that she “may not be the biggest problem in D.C., but she is clearly not the solution.”
Feinstein, a seasoned politician first elected to the Senate in 1994, is prepared for a fight, said Bill Carrick, her longtime campaign consultant.
“She’s been a progressive leader for a long long time, on a bunch of issues from the environment to women’s rights, to LGBT rights and gun safety and fighting for Obamacare – you can go through the list,” Carrick said in an interview. “We’ll be able to make a strong case. Her strength has always been with the Democratic voters and it will continue to be.”
To challengers taking issue with her stance on health care, Carrick suggested Feinstein would be open to a discussion about single-payer in the future.
“First things first,” he said. “Let’s try to keep the Trump administration from destroying Obamacare and destroying the health care system in California. When we get back to the point where we have majorities in Congress again, and we elect a Democratic president, then we can talk about what kind of health care system we’re going to develop.”
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ERIC GARCETTI II: Sacramento Bee Political Editor Amy Chance moderates a luncheon discussion today at the Sacramento Press Club with Garcetti.
WORTH REPEATING: “So many have been so incredibly generous. Thank you.” – State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, noting that a grocery store “stripped their shelves of peanut butter, jelly, juice and bread” to help Sonoma County fire evacuees.
YOUTH HOMELESSNESS: State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, convene a hearing in Los Angeles beginning at 1:30 p.m. on youth homelessness in California, and “what the state should be doing to get young people off the street,” as Wiener’s office puts it.
California is home to a third of the nation’s homeless youth – about 12,000 young people, and homelessness is on the rise, according to the most recent data available from the nonprofit National Alliance to End Homelessness, which tracks homelessness in America.
“Too many young people are living on California’s streets, and we need to do more to help them with their unique needs,” Wiener said in a statement.
A livestream of the hearing is available. It is scheduled from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles LGBT Center at 1125 N. McCadden Pl.
MCCARTY TOWN HALL: Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, holds a town hall at 4235 Antelope Rd. in Antelope beginning at 6 p.m.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FIRES: State Attorney General Xavier Becerra Monday warned against price gouging after Gov. Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency Monday following several large wildfires burning in Northern California.
Raising prices by more than 10 percent after a state or local emergency declaration is considered price-gouging under state law. It applies to housing, gas, food and other supplies. Becerra encouraged residents to report price-gouging online or by calling 1-800-952-5225.
MUST READ: “I’m all in!” Feinstein says about running for her fifth full term.
CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who turns 50 today.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 11, 2017 to correct David Hildebrand’s place of employment.