Filling the gap

First open California senate seat in 24 years


California will be making history this election season. The race to vote in a new senator marks the first time a Republican will not be in contention, as well as the first open U.S. Senate in California in 24 years.

Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez are two Democrats going head-to-head to fill retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s place.

Harris led the race with 40.2 percent versus Sanchez at 19 percent in the California Primary, according to Balletopia. Since no candidate won over 50 percent, they both advanced.

Harris is campaigning to be the second African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. The California State Attorney has found strong bases of support among registered Democrats, liberals, citizens of the Bay Area, African Americans and households that make an income of $40,000 or more.

She has made her career in law enforcement and was twice elected as the district attorney in San Francisco. As the state attorney general for five years, she plans to embody a new way of law enforcement. She wants to reduce violence and the aggressive prosecution of violent criminals. Her plan is to not require cops to wear body cameras, acknowledge that certain communities distrust police, Imprison violent criminals, not the non-violent and make fighting transnational gangs a top priority, according to On The Issues.

If elected, she’ll seek to make college more affordable, protect students from loans and replicate some of her criminal justice reforms — including the state’s criminal justice data portal, which includes figures concerning deaths in police custody.

As found on her official campaign website, Harris said, “I’m a fighter – I’ve fought for the people of California, especially those most in need. And now I’m ready to take that fight to Washington.”

Harris has gained endorsements from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as the California Democratic Party.

Sanchez is currently a member of the U.S. House representing California’s 46th Congressional District and has been for 10 terms. She has described herself as the more “moderate” Democrat, earning her a majority of the Republican vote.

Born the second of seven children to parents who immigrated to Los Angeles from Sonora, Mexico, Sanchez is seeking to become the state’s first Latina U.S. senator.

She has gained traction among registered Latinos, independents and voters under the age of 40.

She describes her platform for the Senate as pro-environment, pro-labor and pro-civil rights. Sanchez backs student debt relief, a minimum wage increase, and overhauling immigration.

Sanchez is backed by 21 members of congress, City of Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez.

As stated on her official campaign website, Sanchez said, “My campaign gives voice to Californians who would otherwise not be heard or represented in our political process.”

Kaylie Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or @kaylielewis_ on Twitter.