Across the country in California, Republican Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley has a reputation as a strong prosecutor with a tough-on-crime, hold-the-line record. Cooley’s Democratic opponent is San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, whose 2003 campaign featured strong opposition to the death penalty, which played well in San Francisco, but is less palatable in the rest of the state. Even the Los Angeles Times is noticing that Harris is more than a bit left of center: “As the liberal city's district attorney campaigns against L.A.'s Steve Cooley for state attorney general, her opposition to the death penalty and stances on other issues could work against her.”
In contrast, The Associated Press describes Cooley as having “built his career as a corruption fighter and prosecutor in high-profile cases, including those involving fugitive film director Roman Polanski and Michael Jackson's doctor.” Real Clear Politics columnist Debra Saunders describes the efforts made to get Cooley into the race, writing, “‘He was drafted by law enforcement and others who came to him repeatedly, and he turned them down,’ Cooley consultant Kevin Spillane told me. ‘The job was too important to let (Harris) take over the position.’ And why did these gray beards push Cooley to run? Simple. Unlike Harris, Cooley is competent.”
The Field Poll released in late September shows Cooley in the lead according to the San Francisco Chronicle, but within the margin of error, so the race is effectively a dead heat. Interpreting the poll results, Field’s Mark DiCamillo gives the advantage to Cooley, because “Cooley is not viewed as negatively by Democrats as Harris is by likely GOP voters.” Given the Democrats voter registration advantage in California, Cooley’s broader appeal could be the deciding factor in this race.
With just over three weeks to go until Election Day, both Bondi and Cooley are on solid ground to take these two offices for Republicans. To learn more about Pam Bondi’s bid in Florida, visit pambondi.com/ or go to stevecooley.com to learn more about Steve Cooley’s candidacy in California.