Dianne Feinstein is California's accidental Senator.
Analyzing Feinstein's ascent to the U. S. Senate, one can track a series of unsuccessful election efforts early in her career that, through one strange political event after another, ultimately landed her where she is today: a two-term Democratic incumbent seeking re-election against Republican challenger and former state Sen. Dick Mountjoy.
Nearly forty years ago, Feinstein won a position on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors where she remained for nine years. Feinstein eventually became the Board's first female president.
During her tenure, Feinstein lost two elections for San Francisco mayor. In 1971, sitting Mayor Joseph Alioto defeated her. And again in 1975, Feinstein lost a race for a run-off slot to challenge Mayor George Moscone.
But when Moscone was assassinated in 1978, Feinstein automatically became San Francisco's new mayor.
After being re-elected mayor twice, Feinstein made an unsuccessful bid in 1990 for California governor losing to Pete Wilson.
Then, in 1992, Feinstein won a special election for the Senate and has been re-elected in 1994 and 2000.
Summing up, Feinstein has had mixed success in persuading voters.
Feinstein has other liabilities:
Feinstein voted "Yea" on S. 2611, the recent controversial amnesty/guest worker Senate program enthusiastically supported by President Bush.
According to a June report by the Center for Immigration Studies, "Amnesty Under Hagel-Martinez: An Estimate of How Many Will Legalize if S. 2611 Becomes Law," a minimum of ten million illegal aliens would receive amnesty and another 4.4 million family members of illegal aliens living outside of the US would join their legalized relatives.
And, according to an analysis of S. 2611 made by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Feinstein's vote potentially approved 217 million new legal residents in America (a number equal to 66 percent of the current U.S. population of 295 million people) over the next twenty years by creating new work visas and raising the caps on existing visas.
In short, Feinstein's record, especially as it pertains to the all-important topic of immigration, gives challenger Mountjoy reason to hope.
Mountjoy, listed on the ballot as an immigration control consultant, should go for Feinstein's jugular.
Now all but officially dead, S. 2611 was widely criticized on talk radio and on the Internet as being loosely written legislation that would open borders and radically change America's demographics. Nothing out of Washington, D.C. in recent history angered Americans more than S. 2611.
Even the harshest critics of Prop.187 agree that it would pass handily again today and would have saved California taxpayers billions.
Mountjoy, with nothing to lose, must run an aggressive, all-out attack style campaign.
And if Mountjoy needs motivation, he should recall the 2004 pounding Sen. Barbara Boxer gave former GOP Secretary of State Bill Jones when Jones ran a lukewarm campaign.
A similar drubbing may await Mountjoy if he doesn't take the fight to Feinstein.