Heated competition expected for seat.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: California Attorney General Kamala Harris became the first major candidate to formally announce their intention to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Barbara Boxer, on Tuesday.
“I’m excited to share with you that I’m launching my campaign to represent the people of California in the United States Senate,” she posted on her campaign website. “I will be a fighter for the next generation on the critical issues facing our country. I will be a fighter for middle class families who are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and diminishing opportunity. I will be a fighter for our children who deserve a world-class education, and for students burdened by predatory lenders and skyrocketing tuition. And I will fight relentlessly to protect our coast, our immigrant communities and our seniors.”
Harris has already built a statewide profile and is widely viewed as one of the most formidable aspiring candidates. Despite recently being re-elected to her second term as the attorney general, her foundation for another campaign is solid considering her strong fundraising base in California and close knit alliance with President Barack Obama in Washington
However, the road to the capital is not yet fully paved, as the race for California’s first open Senate seat in over two decades is set to be a crowded one. Possible opponents include former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and environmentalist hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom was expected to provide Harris with heated competition in the senatorial race, but he bowed out of contention Monday. Instead of potentially splitting the Northern California vote, which would have paved the way for a Southern California candidate like Villaraigosa, Newsom will instead focus on running for governor in 2018.
“While I am humbled by the widespread encouragement of so many and hold in the highest esteem those who serve us in federal office, I know that my head and my heart, my young family’s future and our unfinished work all remain firmly in the state of California– not Washington, D.C. Therefore I will not seek election to the U.S. Senate in 2016,” Newsom released via Facebook. “In the months to come, I look forward to doing whatever I can to help elect California’s next great Democratic Senator — one worthy of succeeding Barbara Boxer and serving this remarkable state of dreamers and doers in the United States Senate.”
Harris is a former prosecutor who grabbed the DNC’s immediate attention when she overcame concerns of being too liberal to land the Golden State’s top law enforcement position in 2010. According to her book, released in 2009 ahead of her run, Harris advocates a “Smart on Crime” philosophy. MSNBC describes her methodology as a “more holistic and economic approach to crime than a narrow punitive approach.”
The daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, Harris broke several barriers by securing the position of California’s attorney general. She became the first female, first Asian-American, and first African-American to assume the role.