By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA News Wire Contributor)
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is set to cruise into the United States Senate after a decisive run-off election over four other challengers in the California primary on June 8.
If Harris is elected to the Senate she will be the tenth African American elected to the U.S. Senate and only the second African American woman in history. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois was elected in 1992.
With over 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Harris received over 1.9 million votes (40 percent) over her four other challengers. The second place finisher was Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) who received 889,869 voters (18 percent). No Republican will compete on November 8, as Harris and Sanchez are the top two winners.
Sanchez barely won in Orange County, her home county where her entire congressional district is located. The results from that congressional district with 100 percent reporting are 25.9 percent to 25.4 percent with Harris losing by only 2,342 votes.
The Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is the first time there has been an open Senate seat in almost 25 years. Boxer arrived in the Senate in 1993.
Whether Harris or Sanchez win, the result will be historic with a African American or Hispanic, now certain to become California’s next U.S. Senator. Harris is of Indian and Jamaican-descent and Sanchez’s parents emigrated from Mexico.
“We ran a campaign about fighting for the ideas of our country. Reminding folks of that great promise that we articulated in 1776 that we are all and shall be treated as equals…we reject those people who talk about ‘us vs. them.’ We reject those people who will try and divide us. We reject those people who speak this anti-immigrant anti-Muslim rhetoric. We reject all of that,” Harris forcefully said to a cheering crowd in San Francisco after her primary victory.
Republicans will have a challenging time holding the U.S. Senate. The party won the majority in 2014, but now the party is in disarray and as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continues to make incendiary and deeply divisive comments about women and minorities, at least 24 Republican Senators could be voted out of office in 2016.
Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst and the CEO of Win Digital Media. She can be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke.