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Kamala Harris, an early Barack Obama backer, begins her ascent

San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris, one of Barack Obama's earliest California backers, announced today that she is running for California attorney general in 2010.

She would replace Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, the former Oakland mayor and California governor, who is expected to run for governor in 2010.

There had been speculation that after slogging around Iowa knocking on doors for Obama, Harris, 44, might be headed to Washington in the new administration.

But the Democratic prosecutor long had focused on running for attorney general,  the state's chief law enforcement officer and a post that can serve as a steppingstone to the governor's office.Kamala_harris

She would be the state's first female attorney general and the first, in decades, who started out as a courtroom prosecutor.

Harris would follow in a long line of California attorneys general who personally oppose capital punishment. But like the others, including Brown, she has promised to enforce the law.

Democrats who win the post generally receive significant support from trial attorneys, in part because deputies file civil suits that help pave the way for private litigation.

Harris was elected district attorney in December 2003, becoming the first woman to win the post and the first African American in California to become a district attorney. She was reelected in 2007.

In a statement, Harris said she had spent her "entire professional life in the trenches as a courtroom prosecutor," starting in the Alameda County district attorney's office. 

"I will fight for all Californians -- from distressed homeowners to families whose neighborhoods are under siege," Harris said, adding that she will detail in coming months how the state could better fight street gangs, "go after sub-prime lenders and others responsible for the financial crisis" and overhaul the prison system.

"We have to shut the revolving door that simply recycles criminals in and out of our neighborhoods," Harris said.

Harris was born in Oakland and graduated from Howard University and Hastings College of Law, the University of California law school in San Francisco.

Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, is a breast cancer researcher. Her sister, Maya Harris, is a vice president at the Ford Foundation. Her brother-in-law, D. Anthony West, an attorney at the San Francisco law firm of Morrison & Foerster, is among the Californians who could receive an appointment in the Obama administration.

--Dan Morain

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Photo credit: Jay and Ani / For The Times


Comments () | Archives (3)

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She is the worst DA in San Francisco's history. She did not file for the death penalty against people who killed a cop. She knowingly bilked the Federal government out of millions of dollars allegedly spent on prosecuting illegal immigration cases (there were just about none). She perverted the city's sanctuary laws to set free illegal alien drug dealers, who went on to murder a father and his child. SF has the highest unsolved homicide rate of any large city in California. Even if you read the SF Chronicle (, comments are literally running 99.9% against her. Lifelong, extremely liberal Democrats are saying they would rather vote for Republicans (or even Sarah Palin) than for her.

Can Kamala Harris actual take such a post if she was aware of ACORN Fraud going on in the democratic caucus contests.

Sadly, possibly yes, because the Attorney's general is not about consumer rights, but about protecting government cronies from consumers.

Sounds like a perfect fit. The one person who probably knows all about the caucus fraud and cheating, getting a job protecting government officials from lawsuits.

Kamala Harris violates her oath of office as D.A. by not supporting the death penalty. The people of CA voted to have it utilize it but she inflicts her own personal frigging ant-death penalty views into her job. That is not right.
She has an obligation to uphold the will of the people but instead she stands against it just to save her own race from what she thinks is disproportionate sentencing.
What a lot of crap


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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