Loretta Sanchez+Kamala Harris

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez left. California Attorney General Kamala Harris right.

Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com
June 8, 2016 – 5:51 PM

  • Harris more than doubled Sanchez’s vote percentage
  • Sanchez will have to increase fundraising clip to compete
  • Republican donors are considering financial support

State Attorney General Kamala Harris carried at least 50 of 58 California counties in the U.S. Senate primary Tuesday, collecting twice the percentage of votes that went to fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez.

With the support of the Democratic establishment and powerful labor groups, Harris’ fundraising skills make her the favorite heading into a Nov. 8 rematch. Polls taken before the primary showed her also leading Sanchez, a 10-term congresswoman from Orange County, in a general election.

“Anything is possible in politics,” said Rose Kapolczynski, a strategist for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer. “It’s certainly an uphill battle for Sanchez at this point.”

Sanchez was on a plane heading back to Washington on Wednesday, while Harris joined Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf at the Home of Chicken and Waffles, where Harris said her win resulted from “unity” among people of multiple demographic groups.

As vote-counting continued, Harris led a field of 34 candidates with 40 percent of the primary vote, while Sanchez had 19 percent.

Ace Smith, a Harris strategist, called her strong showing in such a crowded field “extraordinary and overwhelming.”

We are going into the second half with a three-touchdown lead here.

But the historic nature of the race – it’s the first statewide partisan runoff between candidates of the same party in California – could result in surprises.

Bill Carrick, Sanchez’s campaign consultant, said the fall electorate will be significantly larger and more diverse, with more voters from her native Southern California, a dynamic that he said favors his candidate.

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