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California politics updates: A big week for November ballot measures, lawmakers dig deep into revised state budget

May 16, 2016

Democrat Kamala Harris released her first television ads for her U.S. Senate campaign on Friday, all focused on her record as California’s attorney general. The ads feature Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and labor organizer Dolores Huerta.

The three ads will run in markets statewide, said campaign spokesman Nathan Click. There are just four weeks to go before the June 7 primary election.

The ads will be the first to air from any candidate in a race for the first open U.S. Senate seat in California since 1992, which has attracted little attention thus far. Recent polls showed that one-third to one-half of California voters remained undecided on the race.

In one ad, Warren describes Harris as a “fearless” advocate for Californians who took on transnational gangs, prosecuted oil companies that violated environmental laws and won a $20-billion settlement from the banks responsible for the mortgage meltdown.

Huerta appears in a Spanish-language ad, saying that Harris “fights for the people” and defended unaccompanied immigrant children who fled to the U.S. Huerta ends the ad with the iconic United Farm Workers union slogan, “Sí se puede!”

In the final ad, Harris appears onscreen, arms crossed and in a courtroom, talking about her record since she was elected attorney general in 2010.

Both Warren and Huerta have endorsed Harris, and the  Massachusetts senator has actively raised campaign funds for Harris.

Click said the ads will run on television network and cable stations across California.

An April Field Poll had Harris receiving support from 27% of likely primary voters in California, compared with 14% for her top Democratic rival, Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange. The three top GOP candidates registered in the single digits: Ron Unz with 5%, Tom Del Beccaro with 4% and George “Duf” Sundheim with 2%.

Most of the Senate candidates have been campaigning for months up and down the state, but until now the radio and television ads that usually flood the airwaves in major statewide political races had not materialized.

In reality, only Harris and Sanchez have enough money to even consider a media campaign which, in California, can cost millions of dollars. Sundheim, Del Beccaro and Unz all have less than $100,000 in their campaign accounts.

Harris had nearly $5 million and Sanchez had $2.3 million in the bank as of March 31.

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