California Attorney General Kamala Harris pulled off a commanding first place finish in the crowded race to replace retiring Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday — a win thanks in large part to the flooded field of Republican and “no party preference” candidates in a “jungle” primary.
This November will mark the first time that California will not consider a Republican for U.S. Senate in a general election since installing the top-two primary election system, reports the Los Angeles Times, and “since the state’s first direct election of senators in 1914.”
At 40.3 percent, Harris took a commanding lead and will move on to the November election, facing second-place Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), who came in at 18.5 percent. The California Secretary of State updated results on Wednesday morning that showed 28.3 percent of voters chose among a flood of 12 Republican candidates.
At an Election Night victory party, Harris attempted to project an image of unity even among Republicans and Democrats, supporters of Hillary Clinton and of Bernie Sanders, but did not include supporters of Donald Trump. She said, “Tonight California spoke and it said that we are the same … Our unity is our strength and our diversity is our power.”
And you all know I am a proud daughter of California and I could not be more proud than tonight when I look at who spoke in this so important, very important election. It was about all of us together, African American, Latino, Asian, Caucasian, LGBT of all stripes. We spoke together, we spoke together. We had a historic election in that it was about all of us coming together whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent a Green, we all came together and spoke in this election. We spoke in the election whether we were supporting Bernie or we were supporting Hillary, we all came together.
Harris went on to “reject those people who speak this “anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric,” a somewhat veiled reference to Trump. She said her general election campaign will be about rejecting people that she said “try and divide us.”
She said she was “prepared to do what is necessary” to pass comprehensive immigration reform, combat climate change, reform the justice system and eliminate the “income divide.”
Retiring California Sen. Barbara Boxer first took office in January 1993. Boxer’s time in the Senate was immediately preceded by 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, bringing her time in Washington to 33 years by the time she concludes her current Senate term.
California’s other U.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein, has been in her current position since November 1992. Feinstein also spent nine years as mayor of San Francisco.
Another 4.9 percent of voters chose one of five other Democratic Party candidates. 3.4 percent chose either a Libertarian, Green or Peace or Freedom Party candidate. The 11 “no party preference” candidates received 3.7 percent of votes cast.
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