Kevin de León’s handling of sexual harassment scandal an issue

kevin de leon 2SACRAMENTO — Two days after state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced he would challenge fellow Democrat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in next year’s election, a sexual harassment scandal broke under his roof.

More than 140 women in and around the state Capitol signed an open letter on Oct. 17 and launched the We Said Enough campaign decrying the pervasive sexual harassment and abuse they have faced in their jobs in politics. But it didn’t take long for the women to hear the theory that their efforts were part of a well-oiled Feinstein machine kicking back an insurgent de León campaign.

“Yep, we’ve heard that rumor,” said Samantha Corbin, a leader in the We Said Enough campaign.

And, to be clear, Corbin said it’s not true. De León’s campaign said they didn’t start the rumor, nor do they believe it.

Corbin said the group has no intention of swaying any election. But she’s unapologetic that the sexual harassment scandal in Sacramento is creeping into California’s U.S. Senate race.

“Any candidate that puts themselves forward should be asked if they support finding solutions to ending systemic harassment and abuse, and what, specifically, they would advise,” Corbin said.

That’s why all eyes are on de León’s handling of the flood of accusations in the state Legislature. So far he’s getting mixed reviews on what some say could be a defining moment in his uphill campaign. De León has promised to have no mercy on any senator found to have violated the Senate’s sexual harassment policy. …

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