LOS ANGELES (CNS) — On Wednesday, Nov. 9, California Attorney General Kamala Harris prepared for a cross-country move, following her victory over Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Orange, in the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer in Washington, D.C.
The battle was one of the most high-profile contests to pit Democrat against Democrat under the state’s election law calling for runoffs between the top two primary election vote-getters from any party. It was also the firstmtime California voters have had a chance to pick a new senator since 1992, whenmBoxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, were first voted into office.
Harris outpaced Sanchez in spending, paying out more than $12 million of the $13.5 million her campaign had raised as of the most recent federal filings. Sanchez spent about a quarter of that, $3.1 million, to swy voters.
“I called Ms. Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her win to the U.S. Senate,” Sanchez wrote in a statement. “As she prepares to head to Washington to represent the people of California, I offer my support.”
Sanchez continued: “The campaign was hard-fought and now we come together as Californians. I thank all of my supporters for standing with me.”
The contest was a colorful one, with Sanchez grabbing attention for “dabbing” at the end of the candidates’ only debate, held at Cal State Los Angeles Oct. 5. The hip-hop move is more often seen on the dance floor or in the end zone of a football field and seemed to draw more criticism than cheers.
Harris picked up endorsements from Boxer and Feinstein the following morning.
The attorney general was also backed in her bid by more than a dozen other members of Congress as well as President Barack Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown.
Sanchez had the support of at least 22 of her California colleagues in the House and a dozen members of the state Legislature.
Both had endorsements from labor, though Harris seems to have garnered the lion’s share there as well, with backing from the two largest teacher unions, the 700,000-member-strong Service Employees International Union California and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest public employee trade union in the country.
Harris was sworn in as attorney general in 2011 and prior to that served two terms as district attorney of San Francisco.
Sanchez was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 and serves on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.
Both supported comprehensive immigration reform, more restrictive federal gun laws and the federal health-care law widely referred to as Obamacare. They are both staunchly pro-choice and agree with efforts to fight global warming. And each opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal crafted by the Obama administration.
Harris attacked Sanchez’s attendance record in Congress, while touting her own ability to “get things done.” The lifelong prosecutor points to her record fighting gangs and human trafficking and crafting reforms to residential foreclosure rules.
Sanchez tagged Harris as responsible for rising rates of violent crime, a charge widely viewed as an attempt to appeal to Republican voters.
Highlighting her 20 years of experience in Congress as critical to effectively tackling issues from global terrorism to immigration reform, Sanchez has accused Harris of being a politician who “says one thing and does another.”
The Senate has no term limits and Feinstein, California’s other senator, has announced no plans to retire, though she is the body’s oldest member at 83.
Sanchez wrote that for “the next few weeks, I will spend time with my husband and my family. Although we don’t know what our future will be, I can tell you that this is not the last that people will see of me.”