Dianne Feinstein Snubs California Colleague Kamala Harris, Backs Joe Biden

Feinstein has been longtime supporter of Harris's political career

Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris
Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris / Getty Images
January 3, 2019

California senator Dianne Feinstein didn't even wait for her longtime political ally and junior colleague Kamala Harris to throw her hat in the 2020 primary ring before endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden, stressing the importance of "seniority" for the job.

Feinstein told reporters on Thursday morning that Biden would be the ideal candidate, saying "he brings a level of experience and seniority which I think is really important."

Harris is yet to formally announce that she will join the Democratic primary field, but she is already viewed as one of the frontrunners. Asked about a potential run by Harris, Feinstein indicated her belief that Harris wasn't suited for the presidency.

"I love Kamala," Feinstein said. "But this is a different kind of thing."

Feinstein has played a key role in the meteoric political career of Harris. In 2003, Feinstein backed Harris's successful district attorney run even as fellow Californian Nancy Pelosi supported the incumbent.

When Harris was reelected to the post in 2008, her oath of office was administered by Feinstein.

Feinstein went on to support both Harris's 2010 run for California attorney general and 2016 run for U.S. Senate.

Harris repaid the favor last year, when Feinstein faced a significant challenge from within the Democratic Party in California. She came out in support of Feinstein early on, saying in 2017 that Feinstein was "one of the greatest public servants that California has had." Harris directly combated claims that Feinstein was too old for the job, insisting she was still "clear-thinking" despite her advanced age.

"Anyone who knows Dianne knows she takes the job very seriously," Harris said. "And if she runs, I am supporting her 100 percent."

Harris started visiting early primary states such as Iowa last year.