Harris declares victory at last

District Attorney Kamala Harris declared victory in the race for attorney general Tuesday, first in the county that elected her to the state office and then in the city that launched her political career.

Her opponent, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, conceded the race the day before Thanksgiving, but Harris held off on declaring victory until after the long holiday weekend. The deadline for counting votes was Tuesday, and Harris held about a 75,000-vote lead over Cooley — less than 1 percentage point.

Harris made her first victory speech Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles hotel, then flew to San Francisco where she held a news conference and victory party at the Delancey Street Foundation on The Embarcadero. She received almost 1.2 million votes in Los Angeles County, compared to 186,000 in San Francisco.

Asked by a reporter why she chose Los Angeles to make the announcement, Harris said she just wanted to end her day in San Francisco. As to whether she will live in The City during her time in office, she was noncommittal.

But the biggest question mark that remains is who will replace Harris as district attorney. Harris did not offer any clues as to her preferred choice, other than to say that she prefers a replacement who does not use the power of the office “in pursuit of popularity.”

The mayor will appoint the interim district attorney, but it is unclear who will be that mayor. Mayor Gavin Newsom has already said he will work with Harris on the replacement, but that would require Harris being sworn in before Newsom, who will be the state’s next lieutenant governor.

“I will remain in my office until I take the oath for the next office,” Harris said, adding that she will take that oath on Jan. 3, the same day Newsom is expected to take his oath.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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