Sunday, 20 October, 2019

California Sen. Kamala Harris jumps into 2020 presidential race

WASHINGTON DC- JULY 17 Sen. Kamala Harris participates in a news conference to introduce a bill to reunify immigrant famlies in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center Kamala Harris enters 2020 presidential race
Pablo Mccormick | 21 January, 2019, 17:47

She made her long anticipated announcement on ABC's Good Morning America. "Democracy. These aren't just words", Harris says in the video. Unless Gavin Newsom undercuts her - and there are rumors of his interest - Harris will be the sole beneficiary of the Golden State's largesse.

"The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values", the Democratic California senator said. That's why I'm running for president of the United States", Harris says in the video, titled "Kamala Harris: "For the People".

Harris is now the third woman to announce a presidential run, following Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Harris, who declared on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day, also has a diverse background, and is the first woman of color to be a top presidential contender.

Senators Elizabeth Warren of MA and Kirsten Gillibrand of NY have both launched exploratory committees while former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro has declared his intentions. And she spent much of the 2018 midterm election cycle campaigning for colleagues around the country and building a network of candidates. She gained attention previous year for her tough questioning of the Trump administration's appointments, including Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual harassment.

The former California state attorney general has become popular with liberal activists for her tough questioning of Trump administration appointees and officials, including Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, during Senate hearings. She was the first senator to call on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign for carrying out Trump's family separation policy for illegal border-crossings.

While avoiding directly engaging Trump, Harris has accused the President of stoking racist and xenophobic rhetoric, while aligning his administration with white supremacists at home, and cozying up to dictators overseas.

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She has argued that the needs of the middle class have been ignored, citing the federal shutdown over the President's "vanity project" - a border wall - as the latest example.

Ms. Harris, 54, is a first-term senator from California who previously served as the state's attorney general.

Harris doesn't shy away from the term "identity politics", which she's described as a cudgel used to marginalize issues like civil rights and immigrant rights.

She abandoned the formality of launching an exploratory committee, instead going all-in on a presidential bid.

The former prosecutor chose yellow and red for her campaign logo in a nod to Chisholm's bid for president with its red and yellow campaign buttons.

She plans a formal campaign launch in Oakland on January 27. Among her first decisions will be to reject corporate PAC money and super PAC activity, the aides said.

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"I feel a sense of responsibility to stand up and fight for the best of who we are", she said. She is slated to speak at the Pink Ice Gala, a major event held by the local chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Harris's prosecutorial record has recently come under new scrutiny after a blistering opinion piece in the New York Times criticized her repeated claim that she was a "progressive prosecutor" who was focused on changing a broken criminal justice system from within.

Harris is the fifth Democrat to enter the presidential run. She actively prosecuted financial crimes, including "predatory" lending.

The former California attorney general was elected to the Senate in 2016.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who's from Vermont and unsuccessfully sought the 2016 Democratic nomination, is also considering a campaign.

The campaign chair will be Maya Harris, the candidate's sister and a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. She will continue to be guided by her longtime strategists Sean Clegg and Ace Smith. Her team clearly sees her strongest potential for an early state victory in SC, where African-Americans made up 61 percent of the Democratic primary electorate in 2016. In 1994, then-outgoing Speaker of the California State Assembly Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) appointed Harris to a state board with a $72,000 salary. And early voting in Harris's home state of California will overlap with the traditional early nominating contests, which could give Harris a boost.

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