Farm Bureau endorses DiFi for re-election in 2012

Demonstrating why U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is likely to keep her job as long as she wants it, the California Farm Bureau Federation today announced it’s endorsing her for re-election in 2012.

“Farmers and ranchers are in the business of getting things done, and that’s one reason that we appreciate Senator Feinstein,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said in a news release explaining his board of directors’ unanimous vote. “She has proven, again and again, that she can get things done in Washington and she has shown time after time that she will advocate effectively on behalf of California farmers and ranchers.”

He noted Feinstein’s work to free additional water supplies for farmers during recent drought years and her consistent support for long-term water solutions that include increased storage. He said the senator has authored legislation to ease the estate-tax burden on farmers and ranchers, and to reform federal immigration laws to create an effective guest-worker program for agriculture.

Unusual for the CFBF – or any other major organization – to endorse so early in the cycle, long before there are even any real opponents in the field? You betcha.

“The only other time I can think of was six years ago, when we endorsed Senator Feinstein’s previous re-election campaign,” Wenger said. “That’s a measure of how strongly we feel about her work on behalf of California and how much farmers and ranchers will benefit from her continued service in Washington.”

This endorsement also is significant for its crossover appeal. The CFBF last year endorsed Republican nominee Carly Fiorina over incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, as well as Republicans Meg Whitman for governor, Abel Maldonado for lieutenant governor, and Steve Cooley for attorney general; it did endorse some Democrats in state legislative races.

Feinstein, who’ll turn 78 in June, was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and in 2006 defeated Republican challenger Dick Mountjoy with almost 60 percent of the vote. A Public Policy Polling survey released in February showed her trouncing any of several possible GOP nominees in 2012. The only Republicans who’ve formed committees so far are Keith Holbrook, a senior chemical plant technician from Sacramento County; perpetual candidate Timothy Kalemkarian of Westlake Village, who’s also running for Congress and President next year; and Michael Stollery of Studio City.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.