Harris Stretches Lead in Tight AG’s Race - NBC 7 San Diego

Harris Stretches Lead in Tight AG’s Race



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    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.''