Kamala Harris enters the US Senate race with two considerable advantages. First, she’s a woman. That might not fit into the conventional narrative but for a Democrat, being a woman brings with it a 10 point structural advantage. According to Political Data, 55% of registered Democrats are women. That’s an enormous advantage in a party where there’s plenty of evidence to suggest women are more likely to vote for women. Not only are our two current US Senators female, but 52% of all Democrat mayors and council members statewide are female. Not withstanding falling numbers of women in the state legislature, being a Democrat woman is a big advantage. Moreover, Harris is likely to be the only Democrat woman running on a primary ballot in California with Hillary Clinton.

Second, Kamala Harris has a big geographic advantage. There’s a reason why 8 of our 10 statewide elected candidates are from the 9 county Bay Area around San Francisco. Voters in the Bay Area actually vote. Consider that in our last election cycle LA county had a 24.9% turnout compared to 36.4 % for the Bay Area. LA may have more people, but the Bay Area has more people that tend to vote. There are a lot of reasons for this disparity in turnout, not the least of which is a growing poverty gap – Los Angeles county has a big and growing number of people living in poverty while the San Francisco Bay Area leads the state in wealth and economic growth – but for the purposes of today’s political calculus being from the Bay Area is another huge advantage for Kamala Harris.

Kamala Harris AdvantageWhile other factors will undoubtedly play a role in this race – being the top cop in California, the impact of potential self funders like billionaire environmentalist crusader Tom Steyer, the wild card Latino vote and Antonio Villaraigosa are examples – Harris enjoys two extremely significant structural advantages; she’s a liberal woman from the Bay Area and that matters.

Just ask Barbara Boxer.

Mike Madrid is a partner at GrassrootsLab, a political research data and consulting firm.