Colorado Senate nominee O’Dea dropped out of college to start working. Can he beat a 13-year incumbent?
The campaign of Christine O’Brien, the Democratic candidate for the state Senate in California, has been an all-out war in recent weeks, with each side accusing the other of lying or betraying principles in order to win.
O’Brien, 37, a former communications director for the state’s Democratic party, served as an intern in a conservative think tank as she prepared for a leadership role in the Senate. When she became the communications director for the state party, she ran against the most conservative member of her party, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)—a longtime ally and friend of hers who had never sought political office until now. O’Brien beat her by seven points.
O’Brien believes that she beat Feinstein because the California Senate has a liberal bent that the state’s other leadership, such as Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Calif.) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-N.J.), have been unwilling to embrace. She hopes to change that.
“I believe we’ve had an opportunity to represent the state,” she told the assembled media at a recent press conference.
But her campaign has faced major obstacles. Among them, O’Brien’s biggest problem is her age—she’s just 37, while Feinstein is 73, the age gap is almost 10 years, and she seems not to have the same political experience as her rival. And O’Brien’s biggest problem is that she’s clearly not the most well-known potential statewide candidate—she’s a young woman with no experience in politics, while Feinstein, who is wealthy and famous, has a history with the voters.
“You would expect that in a leadership race in the California legislature you would have the best candidate,” said Michael Wallace, the director of the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative journalism organization based in Washington, D.C