Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Harris wins AG race as city supes prepare to seek new mayor, DA job opens

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley  conceded the race for the state’s top law enforcement office today (Wednesday, November 24). His rival, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, is holding off on declaring victory, but the concession likely makes her the state’s next attorney general.

Cooley’s concession should be good news for LGBTs. It also adds a new twist in San Francisco, as the city’s supervisors search for an interim mayor and the DA job becomes vacant.

“While the margin is extremely narrow and ballots are still being counted, my campaign believes that we cannot make up the current gap in the vote count for Attorney General,” Cooley said in a statement issued by his campaign today. “Therefore, I am formally conceding the race and congratulate Ms. Harris on becoming California’s next Attorney General.”

Cooley and Harris had switched  leads frequently as votes continued to be counted weeks after Election  Day, November 3. As of Tuesday night, Harris had 4,376,509 votes, or 46 percent of the total. Cooley had 4,324,924 votes, or 45.5 percent.

Brian Brokaw, a spokesman for Harris’s campaign, said in a statement, “District Attorney Harris thanks District Attorney Cooley for a spirited campaign and looks forward to working together on the critical public safety challenges facing California. The counties continue to tabulate votes, and District Attorney Harris believes it is only appropriate to wait until all the votes are counted before making a public declaration.”

Brokaw stated that Harris will hold a press conference Tuesday, November 30, the deadline for counties to report final counts to the secretary of state.

Cooley’s concession should provide some relief for marriage equality advocates.

Harris,  an advocate for LGBTs, has said the state’s “precious and few  resources” shouldn’t be wasted on defending the state’s same-sex  marriage ban, Prop 8. The measure, which was passed by voters in  November 2008, is now the subject of a federal lawsuit.

Cooley  had said he would defend it, which Jerry Brown, the state’s current  attorney general and governor-elect, and present Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger  had declined to do.

Their positions could doom the defense of Prop 8, as  the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has questioned whether the  measure’s backers have standing to defend it.

The attorney general also gets to decide ballot language, which could make a  difference if marriage equality advocate attempt to repeal Prop 8 at the ballot box.

Also today, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have settled on a process for selecting the next mayor. Gavin Newsom, who’s mayoral term is set to expire in November 2011,  has been elected as the state’s next lieutenant governor, so his current job will be open in January.

According to the Chronicle, the first person to get six of the 11 supervisors’ votes will complete Newsom’s term. No supervisor can vote for himself, the paper said, adding that if they don’t agree on somebody, Board President David Chiu will be acting mayor “until and if” an interim mayor’s selected.

That adds some intrigue to who will replace Harris, as Chiu is seen as a possible successor to her.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 24, 2010 @ 12:13 pm PST
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