SoCal Undercutting Harris’s Hopes

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

California Senator Kamala Harris’s campaign in her home state is floundering according to the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll.   That seems a bit of a surprise until one takes a longer look at Harris’s election history in the Golden State.

Coming from the heated political environment of San Francisco, Harris barely captured her first statewide race in 2010. She became California’s Attorney General by topping the lack-luster campaigning of Los Angeles D.A. Steve Cooley by less than 100,000 votes out of more than 8.8 million votes cast. In fact, she was not declared the winner until all votes were counted well after Election Day.

Four years later she won re-election over unknown Republican Ronald Gold by 15%. 

The top-two primary offered up Harris’s final General Election opponent for the United States Senate, fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, in 2016. While Harris’s margin of victory was more impressive at 62.7% to 37.3%, it was a win over another Democrat with even less name ID statewide than Harris.

Harris has lacked strong support in Southern California.

Following an early presidential poll in February that showed weakness for Harris in the state’s southern counties, I wrote of the coming California primary “Other Democratic candidates wishing to derail Harris’s plans should concentrate their efforts in Southern California. Harris’s campaign is counting on her position as California’s Favorite Daughter to roll up a ton of delegates in the early primary making her the front-runner and perhaps the inevitable nominee. But that will depend how she fares in Southern California.”

The February poll showed Harris’s weakness in Southern California and the new IGS poll firmly confirmed Harris problems in the southland.

While even struggling behind leading candidates Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden in her home Bay Area, at least Harris maintains a respectable double-digit support of 13%. Not so down south. 

Harris, who stands at 8% of likely Democratic primary voters statewide, notches 7% in Los Angeles County, 6% in other SoCal counties and a meager 4% in Orange and San Diego Counties.

That’s not going to get the job done. The senator still has time to turn things around but it will have to come with momentum from other primary elections and that looks hard to do. She plans to campaign extensively in Iowa before the caucuses where she sits behind the frontrunners in polling. As often the case, a New Englander is bound to capture the New Hampshire primary—Warren or Sanders. 

Harris has concentrated great effort in South Carolina and could still score big there even though the polls are down there as well. Her chances increase in South Carolina if Joe Biden stumbles in the earlier contests.  She needs a good showing in South Carolina to build up some momentum for California. 

Failing miserably in her home state probably means the end of the road for Harris’s presidential campaign.

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