LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Attorney General Kamala Harris will seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Boxer, an adviser with knowledge of her plans said Monday.
With her Tuesday announcement, Harris, 50, would become the first prominent California Democrat to enter the 2016 race expected to lure a crowded field.
The adviser was not authorized to discuss Harris’s plans and spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
Harris, a former two-term San Francisco district attorney, is a personal friend of President Barack Obama and has been widely viewed as an eventual candidate for governor or U.S. senator.
The disclosure came shortly after a potential rival, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said he won’t run for the open seat created by Boxer’s retirement next year.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire Tom Steyer are also considering bids for the seat, which Boxer has held for over two decades.
As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, Harris has focused her crime-fighting efforts on cross-border gangs that she says are increasingly engaged in high-tech crimes such as digital piracy and computer hacking to target businesses and financial institutions.
She attracted attention when she helped negotiate a national bank settlement with major mortgage lenders and secured extra funding for California.
When elected California attorney general in 2010, Harris became the first woman and first minority to hold the office. She is the daughter of an Indian mother and black father.
Newsom, who served eight years as mayor of San Francisco, would have been considered a top contender for the job.
His exit provided encouragement for others contemplating a run for the Senate, and his statement did nothing to dampen the idea he would run for governor in 2018 — when the term of current Gov. Jerry Brown ends.
“I know that my head and my heart, my young family’s future, and our unfinished work all remain firmly in the state of California — not Washington, D.C. Therefore I will not seek election to the U.S. Senate in 2016,” said Newsom, who has three young children.