CA State Senate Leader Nearly Beat Out by Political Newcomer in US Senate Race

There was no contest for the top spot in the US Senate race in California. Incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein took 43.8% of the vote in the nonpartisan, top-two open primary. That was in a field of 32 candidates.

The most interesting race was for the second spot in the November election. It was a tight contest between California State Senator Kevin de León, a Democrat, and first-time candidate James Bradley, a Republican.

De León edged out Bradley, taking 11.3% to Bradley’s 8.8%.

The interesting thing to note is that de León is a former President pro tempore of the California State Senate. He served in this role from October 2014 to March 21, 2018.  He has been a member of the State Senate since 2010 and served in the State Assembly before that.

Kevin de León has established name recognition in California politics. Bradley is a Coast Guard veteran, has multiple MBAs, and is the Chief Financial Officer of a health care startup. He has never held public office nor had he attempted to run for office before the 2018 Senate race.

Forget talks of “blue waves” or “red waves,” there appears to be a hunger among many voters for political outsiders in particular.

Bradley may not have made it in the top-two, but the desire for someone outside the political establishment was also seen in the governor’s race, where Republican John Cox made the top two with 26.2% of the vote — beating out politicians like Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa and Republican Travis Allen.

Cox, unlike Bradley, has run for public office — just not in California. He has never held public office though.

The popularity of outsider candidates — either candidates who are new to the political arena (like Bradley) or candidates who defy the two-party political establishments (like we saw with Sanders and Trump in 2016) appears to be growing and could have an impact come November.