Kamala Harris on Tuesday became the first person to officially declare her candidacy for outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat in 2016. She has already started fundraising and is perceived as one of the stronger contenders from the Democratic side in a field of strong potential contenders.
Echoing Boxer’s fighting image, Harris wrote in a widely-circulated email, “I’m excited to share with you that I’m launching my campaign to represent the people of California in the United States Senate. I will be a fighter for the next generation on the critical issues facing our country. I will be a fighter for middle class families who are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and diminishing opportunity. I will be a fighter for our children who deserve a world-class education, and for students burdened by predatory lenders and skyrocketing tuition. And I will fight relentlessly to protect our coast, our immigrant communities and our seniors.”
Harris’s announcement was anticipated following Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s indication on Monday over Facebook that he would not be seeking Boxer’s seat. It is possible Newsom will endorse her. It is likely Newsom will run for governor when Jerry Brown’s term expires in 2018.
Harris skyrocketed to a national profile following comments from President Obama on her looks, for which he later apologized. She is the first female attorney general of California.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire global warming advocate Tom Steyer are likely to be her biggest rivals, should they publicly cement their intentions to run.
California is home to some of the most expensive political races. Tuesday’s announcement allows Harris to begin fundraising in $2,600 increments, which is the maximum allowed on an individual donor basis for the next cycle.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter: @AdelleNaz.