Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley not only won the Republican nomination for Attorney General, he got his dream match-up in Kamala Harris, the uber-liberal District Attorney of San Francisco, and he will be California’s next Attorney General.
Kamala Harris is simply unelectable as Attorney General. She has the worst criminal conviction rate in the state, having barely won over 50% of her felony trials. She presides over a Sanctuary City and actually provides support and legal comfort for illegal immigrants. She is on the hot seat for failing to disclose massive negligence in the San Francisco crime lab, a failure that could result in the release of thousands of violent criminals. She opposes the death penalty. She was THE most liberal candidate in the Democrat primary, and now she is toast. (PS – How do you feel today, Chris Kelly? $10 million for a 2:1 loss. Ouch.)
Steve Cooley is certainly not a perfect candidate. He’s got big problems with his administration of the Three Strikes law, especially his office policy not to pursue a third strike unless it is a violent felony. He also authored a ballot initiative to weaken the Three Strikes law. Indeed, amazingly, the liberal SF DA Harris can actually run to the right of Cooley on Three Strikes. His estimated $5 million taxpayer funded pension and refusal to eschew “double dipping” if he is elected Attorney General is another huge problem. If Cooley accepts both his pension and his salary as AG, he’d receive over $425,000 annually. Harris is an extremely attractive and articulate candidate. Steve Cooley, with all due respect, is not.
Still, despite these problems, it’s difficult to see how the state’s most liberal District Attorney can defeat Steve Cooley. Cooley supports the death penalty, unlike Harris. Cooley is tough on immigration, unlike Harris. Cooley has a far superior felony conviction rate compared to Harris. Cooley possesses superior name recognition compared to Harris. And Cooley has a tough campaign team led by Pete Wilson operatives Joe Shumate and Kevin Spillane.
I believe that Steve Cooley will be California’s next Attorney General. He won the Republican primary over his chief opponent, constitutional law attorney John Eastman in significant part because of his fundraising and name ID advantage and Eastman’s very late entrance into the race. This allowed him to win the early absentee vote. Eastman and Cooley ran fairly competitively when looking at votes cast on Election Day. The other candidate in the race, state Senator Tom Harman, was a non-factor despite an 18-month long campaign and finished a distant third. Eastman struck a chord with his appeal to a return to the constitutional principals of the American founding, becoming the favorite to the Tea Party movement in the process. Cooley can be expected to espouse these themes in the general election.
The office of California Attorney General is enormously important. Next to being Governor, this office can impact the future of the state more than any other. California Republicans have a lot to be excited about with the nomination of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. Those are both glamour races deserving of our attention. But the prospective election of a Republican Steve Cooley is also enormously important, and requires our attention. Let’s help Steve Cooley win.
Frank Schubert is a Flash Report Senior Columnist. He managed the successful campaign that defeated Proposition 15 on the June ballot and worked on the John Eastman for Attorney General campaign.