See 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing for an overview of all 33 US Senate races, on a state-by-state basis.
The Incumbent US Senator
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, was first elected senator in 1992, and served as mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988. Sen. Feinstein is running for reelection in 2012 for a fourth full term.
Sen. Feinstein is running for reelection in 2012.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is well-regarded both in California and Washington D.C. as a thoughtful moderate on economic issues and liberal of social issues. In her 2000 and 2006 reelections, she won over her Republican opponents by more than 20 points.
In the 112th Congress, Sen. Feinstein serves as Chair of the powerful Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and is a long-time member of the prestigious Judiciary and Appropriations Committees.
California's 2012 Senate Race
On June 5, 2012, the top two voter-getters in the California's first open primary for a U.S. Senate seat were incumbent Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Republican Elizabeth Emken, an autism activist who has never held public office. Ms. Emken ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Who Will Win?
RealClearPolitics.com rates California's 2012 Senate race as a "Safe Democratic Seat" for three reasons:
- Sen. Feinstein is respected and supported throughout California.
- Californians continued to vote strongly Democratic. In its 2010 elections, Democrats were elected to all eight state offices, including Jerry Brown, who was reelected governor after serving in the same office from 1975 to 1983.
- Republican nominee Elizabeth Emken is unknown is most parts of California
California's two U.S. senators serving in the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) are:
- Democrat Dianne Feinstein, serving her fourth term
- Democrat Barbara Boxer, serving her fourth term
Both Governor Jerry Brown and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom are Democrats.
In the last four presidential elections, California voted as follows:
- 2008 - 61% for Democrat Obama, 37% for Republican McCain
- 2004 - 54% for Democrat Kerry, 44% for Republican Bush
- 2000 - 53% for Democrat Gore, 42% for Republican Bush
- 1996 - 51% for Democrat Clinton, 38% for Republican Dole, 11% for Other
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - Over the past few years, California has suffered the second highest unemployment rate, behind only Nevada. The Golden State's rate hovered at 11.8% in mid-2011.
Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - California's foreclosure rate of 1 of every 248 homes is far above the national average, and ranked third in the nation, behind only Nevada and Arizona.
Hispanic Population - Fully 37.6% of California residents are of Hispanic heritage, ranking 2nd along with Texas among all states, and behind only New Mexico.
Labor Union Membership - California is home to the nation's highest population of labor union members, boasting more than 2.9 million workers representing 19.5% of all California employees.
State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - The state poverty rate of 13.3% ranks 21st among all states.
Senior Citizen Population - With only 11.5% of its state residents 65 years and older, California ranks 45th in senior citizens as a percentage of its total population.
Women as a Percentage of California's Population - Women comprise 50.4% of all California residents, ranking 33rd among all states.
African-American Population - Only 6% of California residents are African-Americans.