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California Gov. Jerry Brown backs Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate

May 23, 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday endorsed Kamala Harris for the U.S. Senate, saying she has served the state well as attorney general and delivering a blow to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana), her top rival in the race.

Brown announced support at the headquarters of the California Democratic Party, which had endorsed Harris during the party’s February convention in San Jose .

The move crystallizes her support among the state’s top Democratic politicians.

Harris’ longtime friend and San Francisco political ally Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom endorsed her Senate bid in January.

Brown, Newsom and Harris all use the same San Francisco political consulting firm, SCN Strategies, which includes political advisors Ace Smith, Sean Clegg and Dan Newman.

Harris also has been endorsed by state Treasurer John Chiang, Controller Betty Yee and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

Even before launching her campaign a year ago, Sanchez said she knew that California’s “establishment Democrats” were already backing Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney. Sanchez has been endorsed by 17 members of California’s congressional delegation.

Sanchez also failed to land the state Democratic Party endorsement in her first run for Congress in 1996, and she went on to win the nomination and oust Orange County conservative Rep. Robert Dornan.

Harris was first elected attorney general in 2010, and was reelected in 2014.

There are 34 Senate candidates on the June 7 primary ballot. Recent opinion polls show that Harris is the solid frontrunner and have Sanchez in second place.

Under California’s “top-two” primary system, the two candidates who receive the most votes in the June primary will face off in the November general election, even if they belong to the same political party.

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