There are two ongoing races for federal offices representing California in the upcoming midterm election — and both are highly contentious. For the position of U.S. senator, Kevin de León is running against incumbent Dianne Feinstein. And in the race for California’s 13th Congressional District seat, incumbent Barbara Lee faces off against write-in candidate Laura Wells.
These offices will inform California’s ability to influence the federal government’s decisions during this polarizing time in the nation’s history. California has repeatedly established itself as a progressive leader in the country, and Berkeley voters should keep the state’s core values in mind when casting their votes for U.S. Senate and Congressional District 13 next month.
The Daily Californian’s editorial board has carefully considered the platforms, experiences and principles of the candidates running for election in November. Based on our research and discussion, these are the candidates we have chosen to endorse.
US Senator: Kevin de León
Either of the two candidates running to be California’s representative in the U.S. Senate would do an admirable job. But after more than 20 years, it’s time for a new voice to represent the state — that voice is Kevin de León’s.
Incumbent Dianne Feinstein has held her Senate seat since 1992 and has helped establish the nationwide AMBER Alert communication network and passed legislation against President Donald Trump’s travel ban. But with the growing number of misguided conservative voices in the federal government, California needs a fresh, vocal presence in the Senate to push back.
In his four years as president pro tem of the state Senate, de León has lobbied for increased gun control and protections for undocumented residents — for example, he passed SB 54, the California Values Act, which prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from using resources to investigate or detain people for immigration enforcement purposes.
De León hasn’t hesitated to condemn the Trump administration. And although Feinstein has recently criticized Trump more vocally, she has exercised moderation in the past, going so far as to tell her constituents to “have some patience” with Trump. But de León has never wavered from California’s core values — something the California Democratic Party clearly believes, as it endorsed him for the seat.
Vote Kevin de León for U.S. Senate.
Congress District 13: Barbara Lee
In the race to represent California’s 13th Congressional District, which includes Berkeley, Barbara Lee is both the obvious and appropriate choice. Lee, who has held a seat in Congress since 1998, knows the scope of the role and has the experience and connections necessary to advocate for concrete change, which is more important now than ever.
Lee has demonstrated that she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in, even if she stands alone. After the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, she was the only member of Congress who opposed the authorization for the use of military force, believing it would result in a blank check for war. During her time as a California legislator and member of Congress, she has authored countless bills on issues including health care, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights and environmental protections.
Her opponent Laura Wells has run for the state positions of governor and controller, but has never held office. A write-in candidate with largely idealistic platforms, Wells lacks the experience and actionable ideas required for the job.
Vote Barbara Lee for Congress.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.