San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris more than doubled her lead over Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley in the attorney general's race Monday, with the margin increasing to 31,483.
Harris, a Democrat, leads with 4,127,981 votes to Cooley's 4,096,498, or 46 percent versus 45.6 percent, according to figures released by the Secretary of State's Office.
Harris held a 14,089-vote lead entering today's count of vote-by-mail, provisional and damaged ballots.
Harris has led since Friday. Cooley, a Republican, had led from from Nov. 5 until Friday.
When polls closed Nov. 2, Cooley declared victory, but by early Nov. 3, Harris led by almost 15,000 votes.
Kevin Spillane, a senior consultant with the Cooley campaign, said last week the outcome may not be decided until Thanksgiving or the Dec. 3 deadline for counties to provide their counts to the Secretary of State's Office.
``It's going to be a very close race,'' Spillane said. ``It probably will be decided by 30,000 votes or less.''
An official with the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office today denied an allegation by the Cooley campaign that it conducted private meetings regarding ballot counting with members of the Harris staff, of which the Cooley election monitors were unaware and were not invited to participate until they raised questions.
Efrain Escobedo, executive liaison for the Los Angeles Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk's Office, told City News Service that what the Cooley campaign characterized as a private meeting was showing one representative of the Harris camp a tray of provisional ballots that were ruled to be ``no count'' ballots and providing an estimate of the number of such ballots.
``There have been no private meetings,'' Escobedo said. ``It is not this office's track record, nor practice, to hold any type of private meeting with anybody. We are a public institution and we try to provide the public with whatever information is available to them.''
On Sunday, Ace Smith, Harris' chief strategist, claimed ``recent developments in Los Angeles County have made it abundantly clear that Steve Cooley's campaign is attempting to disqualify as many provisional ballots as possible'' and called on the Cooley campaign to ``immediately cease any tactics designed to disenfranchise voters.''
Spillane called Smith's comments ``typical campaign hyperbole and not supported by the facts.''