Harris, Cooley nab newspaper nods in Calif. AG race

Chris Rizo May 3, 2010, 2:20pm

Kamala Harris (D)

Steve Cooley (R)

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)-Kamala Harris, the San Francisco district attorney running for California attorney general, is capturing major newspaper endorsements in the Democratic race to be the state's next chief legal officer.

Harris, widely considered a rising star in state politics, is in a crowded field Democrats vying to succeed Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jerry Brown as California attorney general.

Her campaign got a major boost Sunday, when the editorial boards of her hometown newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Sacramento Bee endorsed her candidacy in the June 8 Democratic primary.

The Chronicle said Harris "stands out in this field both in her grasp of the issues and the clarity of her priorities," while the Bee said she would "bring experience, energy and an innovative spirit to the office of California attorney general."

Harris was first elected as San Francisco's top prosecutor in 2003, unseating District Attorney Terence Hallinan. The Hastings College of the Law alum was reelected in 2007 with no challenger.

Last week, Harris was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, the state's largest newspaper. In April, the Los Angeles Metropolitan-News legal newspaper endorsed Harris.

In the three-person race for the Republican nomination, the Bee and the Times both endorsed Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

The Bee said Cooley, elected in 2000, gives Republicans a "solid chance" of winning the attorney general's office in November.

"If elected, Cooley would be aggressive in his pursuit of justice," the newspaper said.

The Times said in its April 29 editorial that Cooley, a graduate of the University of Southern California Law Center, is a "dedicated public servant" who has "demonstrated a commitment to open government that is refreshing and not widely shared in county government."

Also running for the GOP nomination is state Sen. Tom Harman of Huntington Beach and John Eastman, former dean on Chapman University Law School.

The Bee editorial in favor of Cooley noted that neither Harman nor Eastman has ever prosecuted a criminal case.

Democrats vying to succeed Brown include Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico of Newark, Assemblyman Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara, Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Chris Kelly, former chief privacy officer for the Web site Facebook.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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