Kamala Harris: Seven Key Facts About Democrats’ Top 2020 Contender


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She is already drawing comparisons to Barack Obama, who once praised her good looks. Like him, she is a left-wing first-term U.S. Senator with little experience and few accomplishments in office. 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.

Here are seven other key facts about her:

  1. Kamala Harris’s career received a boost from a patronage job in dubious circumstances. 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. The Los Angeles Times reported: “Harris, a former deputy district attorney in Alameda County, was described by several people at the Capitol as Brown’s girlfriend.” (Brown was married but separated.)
  2. Kamala Harris barely won her first race for California Attorney General in 2010. As in many of the 2018 congressional races in California, Harris won despite losing on Election Night: “Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley had declared victory on election night, only to see the race flip-flop between the two candidates in the coming days as counties around the state continued to tally mail-in and provisional ballots,” SFGate.com reported.
  3. Kamala Harris was accused of using her state office to attack political enemies and reward friends. Harris was sued by conservative groups for forcing them to disclose donor information that the IRS allows them to keep confidential. She was also sued by a healthcare company that claimed she imposed undue restrictions when it tried to buy another company because she wanted to help her ally, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
  4. Kamala Harris was criticized for financial mismanagement during her 2016 U.S. Senate campaign. In 2015, the Sacramento Bee reported that Harris’s campaign had a “spending problem,” and was “burning through campaign cash nearly as rapidly as she raises it.” She won the general election against Rep. Loretta Sanchez after sewing up the support of the Democratic establishment, including then-President Barack Obama.
  5. Kamala Harris has been the star of viral video confrontations, but has done little else in Washington. In committee hearings in the Senate, she has a habit of badgering witnesses — then claiming, when stopped, that male, Republican Senators are trying to silence her, and raising money off the resulting outrage. She tripped herself up in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, falsely claiming that he wanted to take birth control away from women.
  6. Kamala Harris faces new questions about a close aide who settled a $400,000 harassment lawsuit. Despite posturing as a champion for women, Harris claimed that she did not know about a major settlement when she was California Attorney General in which one of her “top deputies,” Larry Wallace, had been accused of “gender harassment.” Harris mentioned Wallace positively in her new book, which she is using to promote her candidacy.
  7. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris’s California colleague, prefers another candidate. Feinstein has made clear that her preferred candidate in 2020 would be former Vice President Joe Biden. Feinstein, though lately a target of conservative criticism for her role in the Kavanaugh hearing, is the more moderate of the two, taking pragmatic stances on issues like water and working across the aisle — an approach Harris largely rejects.
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