Capitol Alert

Steinberg chooses Feinstein in ‘difficult’ decision

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, right, talks with former Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, after a news conference to announce a proposal to spend more than $2 billion to help the homeless Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, right, talks with former Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, after a news conference to announce a proposal to spend more than $2 billion to help the homeless Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. AP

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who backed Kevin de León to succeed him as leader of the state Senate in 2014, said Friday that he was supporting his opponent, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, for re-election next year.

Steinberg called the decision “difficult” given his relationship with both California Democrats.

“Sen. Feinstein and Sen. de León are both close, personal friends and, in my opinion, great leaders for California,” Steinberg told The Sacramento Bee. “But Senator Feinstein is a vital national voice and she’s earned my vote for re-election.”

Steinberg’s endorsement underscores the challenge de León, 50, of Los Angeles, faces as he takes on one of the state’s best-known politicians.

On Thursday, Feinstein’s campaign rolled out endorsements from all five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, with Supervisor Hilda Solis saying the veteran incumbent “brings real political clout for our county and state to Washington, D.C. on a multitude of critical issues.”

Many of the state’s top politicians – from Sen. Kamala Harris to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti – backed Feinstein within hours of her recent reelection announcement.

De León acknowledged in his opening campaign rally Wednesday that many from within his party’s establishment would rather not see him run. But he said his candidacy represents a “different way of doing things.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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