All Eyes On Kamala Harris As California Democrat Gavin Newsom Declines 2016 Senate Bid


The 2016 election is still nearly two years away, but the critical race to fill Barbara Boxer’s California Senate seat in the next election, is already starting to take form. On January 8th, Boxer announced that she plans to retire, and will not be seeking re-election in 2016. Her announcement fueled speculation about which Democratic heavyweights would enter the ring to fight for the seat Boxer is vacating. California has an incredibly deep Democratic bench, so there are many viable candidates for team blue. However, the two potential candidates, that most analysts regarded as the “cream of the crop,” were lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom and attorney general Kamala Harris.

On Monday, Newsom ruled out running for the Senate in 2016. In a statement, Newsom said:

It’s always better to be candid than coy. 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.

With Gavin Newsom out, Kamala Harris immediately vaults to the top of the Democratic wish list. There are other prominent Democrats interested in the seat, including wealthy environmentalist Tom Steyer, and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Several additional candidates, both Democrat and Republican, are also considered possible contenders.

Harris, California’s first female attorney general, and also the state’s first African-American and Indian-American attorney general, would attract a strong base of support from multiple disparate constituencies. Harris and Newsom both coasted to re-election for their respective state offices in 2014. Harris won 57.5 percent of the vote in her race; Newsom won 57.2 percent. Newsom will likely opt to run for Governor in 2018. Harris, if she steps into the ring, would be a strong candidate for U.S. Senate in 2016. Harris has not yet stated that she plans to run, but with Newsom out of the running, the door is wide open for her to enter the race.


15 Replies to “All Eyes On Kamala Harris As California Democrat Gavin Newsom Declines 2016 Senate Bid”

  1. As one who has tried – and this is the operative word – TRIED – to deal with her on issues of civil rights and hate crimes plus government reform, I’d like to warn Californians that she is an utter self-promoter and NOT a champion of our concerns. She blew off ALL the communities impacted by a spike in hate crimes and reduction in law enforcement. She made it clear, although she’d campaigned on the issue, we were all beneath her contempt. She does not care. The same is equally true of her disinterest in government reform. She was obstructionist, interested in only reducing work for herself and her staff, and totally not helpful.

    I’d think very carefully before supporting her in the primary. I don’t know who will be running against her, but she is not trustworthy at all, and it will have to be a totally empty field to garner my even grudging support and that of many others who are progressive and thoughtful supporters of democracy.

  2. I don’t know much about Kamala Harris, but if churchlady 4044 is to believed, she’s not as progressive as she should be. She’s NO Barbara Boxer, that’s for sure.

    We need to get someone who’s more like Senator Boxer and less like Diane Feinstein – which I’m afraid Kamala Harris will turn out to be.

    The danger of being a State as vast as California is Republicans weaseling in, running as Democrats but voting like Republicans. Kamala Harris could be one.

  3. I think churchlady’s warning should be acknowledged, although I would add that Harris is, at least on the issues, reliably left-oriented. Her Senate votes would be solidly progressive. This isn’t to discount churchlady’s criticisms…there may be issues with Harris’ management style etc, but if you look at her positions on the issues this isn’t a GOP-lite politician. I believe her voting record would be more like Boxer’s than Feinstein’s…

  4. I don’t want Antonio Villaraigosa to run. He made decisions that I did not think we’re right for a Democrat. I wish Boxer would stay and Feinstein would retire. I can’t stand her! To be honest, I don’t know a lot about Kamala Harris to determine if she is qualified to fill Boxer’s shoes.

  5. I don’t recall what Antonio Villaraigosa did wrong and I live in the city of LA.

    I remember the dismal Riordan era, who didn’t have a clue what to do during the OJ riots.

  6. Scan down on this wiki page:

    Nepotism, Ethics Violations, and (horrors!) he didn’t reference God or support for Israel at the DNC convention. All in all, he seems reasonable. I’d trade him for our Rep Doug “Rubber Stamp” LaMalfa in a heartbeat.

    ..oh…and he’s Latino…. ;-)

  7. I just hope she doesn’t pull a Alison Grimes and dismiss Obama and act like a total coward when it comes to defending her party. Grimes deserved to lose!

  8. @churchlady4044. It’s great that you have an opinion that seems based on a breadth of information. Care to share any of the specifics with the rest of us? If you’re hoping to influence readers here, you’ll do better with details.

  9. @Climp Jones. Thanks for your opinion. It’s easy to type a short, derogatory remark and easy for readers to discount it. Care to give us any specifics or reasons for your post?

  10. Well, I sure ain’t votin’ for Tom Steyer! Being a “deficit hawk” in this day and age is synonymous to being a social safety net destroying Republican.

    As I’ve mentioned in my post above that someone deemed to vote down, being that NO Republican can win a statewide race in the State of California, Republicans have to go undercover and run as Democrats. Apparently, Tom Steyer is one of those wolves in sheep’s clothing.

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