FACT CHECK: Did Dianne Feinstein Win Re-Election By Almost A Million Votes?

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein claimed Feb. 22 that she was elected by “almost a million” votes.

Verdict: True

Feinstein won her 2018 re-election campaign by just over 925,000 votes.

Fact Check:

In a video posted by the environmental group Sunrise Movement, Feinstein faced a gathering of young activists outside her office last week. The students were there in support of the Green New Deal, a blueprint for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey.

The resolution has been supported by 11 senators, including all six senators running for president as Democrats in 2020 – Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Feinstein has not supported the Green New Deal, and during her interaction with the group of middle and high schoolers, she called upon her experience in the Senate to back up her stance.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing,” Feinstein told one young protestor.

“You come in here and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that. I’ve gotten elected. I just ran,” Feinstein continued. “I was elected by almost a million-vote plurality, and I know what I’m doing. So, you know – maybe people should listen a little bit.”

California has a top-two primary where the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election. In the November 2018 election, Feinstein faced off against another Democrat, Kevin de Leon. She received 6,019,422 votes, while de Leon received 5,093,942 votes, according to the California Secretary of State.

Feinstein won a majority of the vote, 54 percent. In elections, the term plurality is typically used in races of three or more candidates, but it’s also more broadly defined as “the excess of the votes cast for one candidate over those cast for any other,” according to Black’s Law Dictionary.

During her 2012 re-election campaign, Feinstein receivedrecord 7.9 million votes.

When explaining to one protestor why she did not support the Green New Deal, the long-term senator said, “There’s reasons why I can’t, ’cause there’s no way to pay for it.”

“That resolution will not pass the Senate, and you can take that back to whoever sent you here,” Feinstein said.

She did, however, emphasize her commitment to fighting climate change in ways other than the Green New Deal. “I want the children to know they were heard loud and clear. I have been and remain committed to doing everything I can to enact real, meaningful climate change legislation,” she said in a press release after the meeting.

Feinstein’s climate change resolution calls for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement and guaranteeing pensions and jobs re-training for Americans in the coal, oil and gas industries.

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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter