Ask and ye shall receive.
A Times’ editorial Thursday morning lamented the possible unopposed candidacy of Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate. The editorial board, of which I am a member, doesn't have anything against Harris, but we do think non-competitive races ought to be discouraged. And I think they are boring, which only encourages voter apathy.
Unless another Democrat jumped into the race, though, Harris would have been a virtual shoo-in as the next U.S. senator from California. No disrespect to Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez or other candidates for the seat intended, but California reliably votes Democratic. Just look at the November election. And with no big-name Democratic challenger, there wouldn't have much of a debate for Democrats to watch.
It seems now they will get a real race since Rep. Loretta Sanchez announced during a news conference Thursday that she’s in. This was after a couple days of speculation driven by a memo that was prematurely released, then retracted, indicating she would announce for sure.
I’m not going to speculate on Sanchez’s odds against Harris or anyone else who enters the race (there are still a few high-profile Democrats who haven't said "no" to the prospect yet). There’s still more than a year to go before the primary race, and so much can happen to change the equation. But I will say this: It will be a much more interesting race with Sanchez in it.
Personality wise, Sanchez is the opposite of Harris. The state’s attorney general has a carefully constructed public persona and rarely veers off script; Sanchez, by contrast, doesn’t seem to have much of a script. Harris is self-possessed and reserved; Sanchez, a charming eccentric. The mix of this political odd couple is sure to whip up interest among voters, and might actually make for a substantive (and fun) campaign.
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