On Thursday, California Senator Dianne Feinstein threw fellow California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris under the bus, asserting that her preferred candidate for the 2020 presidential nomination is former Vice President Joe Biden.
Speaking to reporters, Feinstein opined, “Joe was chairman of the Judiciary [Committee] when he came to this place. I’ve watched him as vice president, I’ve seen him operate, I’ve seen him perform. He brings a level of experience and seniority which I think is really important.”
Politico reported that Feinstein claimed she hadn’t spoken to Biden about a prospective candidacy, allowing, “That’s just my view.”
In 2018, when Feinstein ran for reelection, Biden supported her, saying, “She’s tenacious. She’s accomplished. And she’s exactly who we need in the Senate to stand up to this Administration and its Republican allies in Congress. Dianne is a dear friend, and I’m proud to endorse her re-election.” After she was elected to the Senate for the fifth time, she spoke about Biden asking her to be the first woman on the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Anita Hill hearings.
Biden has been leading the Democratic field in poll after poll: in late December a poll found 53% of voters excited to see him run; Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) followed Biden, with 36% of respondents excited; Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) who lost in his senatorial bid against incumbent Senator Ted Cruz in Texas and has experienced a flurry of media breathlessness over his possible candidacy, only got 30% of voters saying they’d be excited about him running, half of what Biden received. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) closely followed O’Rourke; 29% of voters said they’d be excited to see Harris run, as 34 % of respondents had never heard of her; 28% were excited about a Booker run, 29% of respondents had never heard of him.
A CNN poll from December 6 found Biden garnering 30% of the vote, followed by Sanders with 14% and O’Rourke following him with 9%. After O’Rourke, Booker grabbed 5% of the vote; Harris and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren both plunged five points since October and rest below 5%.
In early November, Reuters reported that a Reuters/Ipsos Election Day opinion poll found Biden the preferred candidate among Democrats; he received 29% of the votes, followed by Sanders with 22%, and then a virtual tie between Booker, Warren, and Harris. The poll found that in a hypothetical match with President Trump, Biden led 51%-39%, and Sanders, Booker and Harris would also defeat Trump in the popular vote.
Also in early November, The Washington Post conducted an exit poll asking Democrat voters whom they preferred to see as the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. Biden got 32% of the vote; Sanders received 15% of the vote; Warren, Bloomberg and Harris got 10% of the vote. O’Rourke got 9% of the vote; Booker got 7% of the vote, and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper got 2% of the vote. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was listed, but he received 0% of the vote.