According to SF Gate — California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer today urged anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan not to challenge the state’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, in the June Democratic primary.
Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, has been actively considering a campaign after criticizing Feinstein for refusing to call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
But Boxer, a liberal former Marin County supervisor who strongly opposed the war in Iraq, said Sheehan might actually hurt her anti-war cause by jumping into the race against her fellow Democrat who is entering her 14th year in the Senate.
“I don’t think having her in the Senate election helps her at all,” Boxer told a roundtable of California reporters this morning. “I think it might have the opposite effect.”
“Maybe she’s more valuable out there not as a candidate,” Boxer said of Sheehan and her anti-war effort
Feinstein and Boxer were both elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 – the “Year of the Woman” in national politics – but they have not always seen eye-to-eye on issues. Feinstein voted for the 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq if the country refused to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors, while Boxer was one of 23 senators who voted against it.
But Boxer defended her Senate colleague today, saying Feinstein has been a critic of the administration’s war policies and favors withdrawing troops as soon as possible.
“Sen. Feinstein and I are very involved in trying to figure out a way to get the troops back,” she said.
Sheehan, who was arrested and removed from President Bush’s State of the Union speech last week for wearing an anti-war T-shirt, spent part of her time in Washington asking Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, whether she should run for the Senate. A former Vacaville resident who now lives in Berkeley, she told the Chronicle she was leaning toward entering the race.
“What I hope to do with it would be to energize other anti-war candidates,” Sheehan said in an interview before the State of the Union speech. “If I entered it, it would bring attention to the fact that there are many, many races where pro-peace, anti-war candidates are running.”