Assembly Majority Leader to run for AG in 2010

Legal News Line Feb. 20, 2009, 1:13pm

Alberto Torrico (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-State Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico of Newark is the latest Democrat to launch a bid to become the state's next attorney general, should California Attorney General Jerry Brown decide not to seek re-election in 2010.

Brown, by most accounts and even his own, will run for governor in 2010, though he said earlier this week he doesn't plan on making a decision for awhile. But Brown already told reporters during the presidential inauguration festivities that he was going to run, because "I've done it before."

Brown served two terms as governor from 1975 to 1983, but unlike Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, term limits were enacted after his term leaving him free to seek a third term in the state's top post.

Torrico launched a Web site this week called "Alberto Torrico for Attorney General" which states, "I will put my passion for justice and fairness, and my skills and experience to work to make sure all Californians are treated equally, that we feel safe in our schools, neighborhoods and workplaces, and that the natural beauty and abundance of our state is protected."

Torrico was first elected to the Assembly in 2004 and rose through the ranks to become majority leader. According to his campaign biography, he's the first member of his family to have graduated from college and earn a law degree. He specialized in labor law in private practice before jumping into politics.

Torrico is of Latino and Japanese descent as is a member of two ethnic caucuses, the Legislative Latino Caucus and the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. He is married and his two children.

The field of Democratic contenders for attorney general is as diverse as any, a reflection of modern politics in the Obama Era. Torrico will run against San Francisco City Attorney Kalama Harris, a woman of black and Indian descent, Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D- Torrance, a Chinese-American, Hispanic-American Santa Barbara Assemblyman Pedro Nava, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, and former Assemblyman Joe Canciamillia.

Facebook Privacy Officer Chris Kelly has not made any public moves to run, but is rumored to be preparing to leave his high-tech post to launch an outsider's bid for attorney general.

Nava, 60, is the chairman of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. The former prosecutor also has played a prominent role in the state's foreclosure crisis. He was first elected to office in 2004.

Harris, 44, who enjoys a tight relationship with President Barack Obama - she was on the stage with him in Illinois when he announced his long-shot candidacy -- has raised big donations from some of Obama's biggest backers.

Delgadillo, 48, ran in a primary against Brown in 2006, during which he raised $5 million for his campaign. But he's had setback since, first with a controversy related to his wife wrecking a city-owned vehicle while driving with a suspended license, and then being the target of a ongoing federal investigation into his wife's consulting business and whether she paid taxes on her income.

Lieu raised close to $1 million in 2008. Lieu's attorney general campaign account also has more than $350,000 cash on hand. Both amounts outpace other potential Democratic attorney general candidates, according to the latest figures from the Secretary of State.

Canciamillia was the first to announce his intention to run last summer, but he has yet to begin raising money. His campaign account has slightly more than $300,000 cash on hand. During his time in the legislature he was best known for his moderate, pro-business positions that often put him at odds with the Democratic majority.

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