Three hours after the election polls closed, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley strode onto a stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and gave supporters of his campaign for state attorney general some news to cheer.
"Although my … close advisors think it's a little too early, I'm declaring victory," he said to a roaring crowd.
Early voting tallies showed Cooley with a comfortable lead. But within hours, his advantage had evaporated.
Cooley was widely seen as an early favorite in the race thanks to a history of electoral success in Los Angeles County, where he became the first district attorney in more than 70 years to win three terms.
But in Los Angeles County, Harris led Cooley by more than 14 percentage points. The county has nearly 400,000 uncounted ballots.
Something to consider is that L.A. is heavily Latino and Afro-American and so is the population of our prison system. People are unlikely to vote for the prosecutor that locked up a family member.
"Cooley had everything going for him except for one thing: He had Republican under his name," said Allan Hoffenblum, a former GOP consultant who publishes the nonpartisan California Target Book, which analyzes political races.
Democrats swept to comfortable victories in every other statewide office. And Cooley fared better than the rest of the GOP ticket, notching up more votes than gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, U.S. Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina or any other Republican candidate.
In Los Angeles County, each of the other Democratic candidates for statewide office swept aside their Republican rivals by 28 percentage points or more — double Harris' lead over Cooley.
I don't like prosecutors very much and wouldn't vote for one for dogcatcher, but that's what we had for candidates and I just want a symbolic clean sweep for Dems, so GO Kamala!