Staff and Wire Reports
LOS ANGELES — Attorney General Kamala Harris announced in low-key fashion Tuesday that she is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated byBarbara Boxer.
“California has been incredibly well served by the transformationalleadership of Senator Boxer and the continued service of Senator [Dianne] Feinstein. With your help, I hope to build on their legacies in the U.S. Senate,” Harris wrote in a statement posted to her website.
Harris’ announcement came one day after Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announcedhe would not run for the seat. Their announcements avert a battle between them for the governorship, which Newsom is expected to seek. Newsom and Harris are both from the Bay Area, share many of the same supporters and are popular among liberals in California’s Democratic Party.
“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.,” Newsom wrote in a message on his Facebook page Monday. “Therefore I will not seek election tothe U.S. Senate in 2016.”
Boxer, 74, announced last week that she would not seek re-election in 2016.
Harris, 50, a two-term attorney general who previously served as San Francisco’s district attorney, became the first candidate to officially declare she will run for the seat. She appears more than likely to receiveNewsom’s backing.
“In the months to come, I look forward to doing whatever I can to help elect California’s next great Democratic Senator — one worth of succeeding Barbara Boxer and serving this remarkable state of dreamers and doers in the United States Senate,” Newsom said Monday.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaireenvironmental activist Tom Steyer are also considering bids, as are several members of Congress. Among Republicans, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez and two former state GOP chairmen are weighing runs, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In an online blog post, Steyer wrote that he is “honored” that friendsand colleagues have been encouraging him to run for the seat.
“California Democrats are blessed to have a deep bench of talent, and I will decide soon based on what I think is the best way to continue the hard work we’ve already started together to prevent climate disaster and preserve American prosperity,” Steyer wrote.
Andrea Bozek of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, blastedSteyer’s interest in the seat, saying he spent $74 million on behalf of Democrats in the 2014 elections, which went largely Republican.
“I guess a $74 million rejection wasn’t enough for billionaire TomSteyer,” Bozek said, adding that voters will “understand that he is only interested in pushing his extreme agenda that will destroy jobs.”
Chavez’s press secretary, Christopher Pickard, confirmed to City News Service that the assemblyman is considering the idea.
“Assembly member Rocky Chavez was honored to serve in the United StatesMarine Corps for 28 years, he was honored to serve on the Oceanside City Council, he is honored to serve the 76th Assembly District as their assemblyman, and is exploring the complexities of the U.S. Senate race,”Pickard said.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, confirmed on her Facebook pagethat she is considering a bid for the seat.
“From immigration reform to affordable health care to funding qualityeducation, I have advocated for policies that give all families the same access to the American Dream,” she wrote. “Californians deserve a strong voice in Washington and I have never been afraid to speak up, which is why I amseriously considering running for the United States Senate in 2016.”
In her announcement, Harris recalled her extensive experience as aprosecutor and held herself as a champion for a beleaguered middle class.
“From my first days as a prosecutor in Alameda County, to my work asSan Francisco District Attorney to my current service as California attorney general, I have worked to bring smart, innovative and effective approaches to fighting crime, fighting for consumers and fighting for equal rights for all,” Harris said in her announcement.
“I want to be a voice for Californians on these issues and others thatimpact our state in the U.S. Senate. 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 anddiminishing 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 immigrantcommunities and our seniors.”