Kamala Harris' Senate bid endorsed by ex-state party chief Art Torres

Kamala Harris' Senate bid endorsed by ex-state party chief Art Torres
Art Torres is the latest California Democrat to endorse Kamala Harris in her bid for the U.S. Senate. Above, Torres on the floor of the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Former state lawmaker and state Democratic Party chairman Art Torres endorsed Kamala Harris’ bid for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Torres is the latest Democrat to back Harris before other Democrats, notably former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, make up their minds about whether to join the race for the seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Boxer. U.S. Reps. Loretta Sanchez and Xavier Becerra are also among the Democrats considering running for the post.

"In more than three decades of fighting for Californians in our nation's capital, Senator Barbara Boxer demonstrated her steadfast commitment to improving the lives of her constituents," Torres said in a statement. "Californians deserve a senator who will carry on her transformational legacy, and that is why I am proud to endorse Attorney General Kamala Harris' candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Kamala has a proven track record of fighting for Californians, and all of our state's communities will be well-served with Kamala Harris as our next senator."

The endorsement by Torres, who represented the Eastside of L.A. in the state Senate and Assembly, comes amid concerns among some Southern California Latino politicians that Bay Area Democratic leaders are ignoring the fast-growing Latino electorate and effectively anointing Harris as the party choice for the Senate seat.

Harris' campaign has pushed back against that narrative by announcing endorsements by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera and Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside) as well as Torres' backing.

Medina, in endorsing Harris last week, said she "has championed so many issues that are of importance to our state's Latino population."

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