The election is a little more than a year away and no major Republican candidate has announced a run against incumbent U. S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Often cited as the most revered politician in the state, Feinstein has won four elections to the senate, and in a strong Democratic state, she would seem tough, if not impossible, to beat.
Still, there have been signs that the challenge may not be hopeless. The last two Field Polls have here approval rating a scant four points and two points ahead of disapproval. That’s quite a contrast from previous polls showing pluralities ranging from nineteen to twenty-nine points in the year before her elections.
Furthermore, the senator would have to deal with the issue of her age – 79 at the beginning of another six-year term. Admittedly, the age issue has not been an impediment recently for politicians seeking high office in the Golden State.
Former San Francisco mayor, Willie Brown, in his San Francisco Chronicle newspaper column dismissed any concern for Feinstein being reelected: “I know this is the first time that she has gone into a race with a number so low, but she is still very much the third rail of state politics. Touch her and you go down.”
Recently, Ronald Reagan’s son, Michael, said of a possible senate run, “I am not crazy enough to run. ”
In her last election, Feinstein brushed aside former state senator, Richard Mountjoy, 65% to 35%. Her next challenger could be another termed-out legislator.
But, there are other possibilities.
Sixteen-term Congressman David Drier finds himself in a challenging, newly drawn congressional district. While he may look at a new district that has a piece of his old district in Riverside County, Drier might also make other plans – such as take a shot at the U.S. Senate. He has been rumored to be interested in that office in the past.
California is famous for business people capturing Republican nominations for high office without serving in a public office first. Bill Simon, Meg Whitman, and Carly Fiorina have all taken the plunge.
During Feinstein’s last run, businessman Bill Mundell considered running. Might he run this time?
As I was about to finish this post, I read that Bill Saracino over at California Political Review suggested radio personality Dennis Prager or former congressman Judge Jim Rogan might be good candidates for the office.
Then someone mentioned the intriguing name of Charles Munger, a wealthy Stanford physicist, who poured millions into political reform backing congressional redistricting and wants to influence the direction of the state Republican Party. That is one individual who could self-fund a campaign.
Someone is going to step forward to challenge the senator. Perhaps, even someone in Feinstein’s own party who thinks its time for a change. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had received some speculation in the press that he might consider the job. I don’t know, but as Rick Orlov’s column in the L.A. Daily News a couple of days ago was headlined: Mayor Can’t Seem to Stay Away from D.C.