Election 2010

Steve Cooley Concedes Attorney General's Race to Kamala Harris

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Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 11:26 AM

click to enlarge Steve Cooley
  • Steve Cooley
Steve Cooley has conceded the attorney general's race to Kamala Harris. In a conference call, Cooley's campaign consultant, Kevin Spillane, announced that Cooley had called Harris to congratulate her.

We called the race for Harris yesterday, after noting that Cooley would need to win the remaining ballots by a margin of 66-26.

In a statement, Harris said she would hold off on declaring victory until next Tuesday.

Though Spillane did not say whether this would be Cooley's last campaign, Cooley seemed to rule out another run for office in a statement.

"I will complete my third term and finish my career as a professional prosecutor in the office where it began over 37 years ago," he said.

Cooley did not join the conference call. Spillane said he was busy attending to the duties of the L.A. District Attorney.

Spillane said that the Cooley campaign ruled out the possibility of a recount, which would cost millions of dollars and which would have to be paid for by the campaign.

Spillane attributed Cooley's defeat to a surge in Democratic turnout, especially among Latinos and African-Americans, and to the collapse of Meg Whitman's campaign. He also said that Cooley had not positioned himself to run for higher office, and had relatively low name identification even in L.A. County because "he is not someone as district attorney who has pursued press conferences."

Spillane argued that as a down-ballot candidate, Cooley was subject to forces beyond his control.

"Did he lose because he was a Republican? Ultimately, yes," Spillane said.

In Harris' statement, the San Francisco D.A. thanked Cooley for a "spirited campaign."

"The counties continue to tabulate votes, and District Attorney Harris believes it is only appropriate to wait until all the votes are counted before making a public declaration," said Brian Brokaw, the Harris campaign manager.

The Secretary of State now reports that there are 155,000 ballots left to be tallied. In fact, there are no more than 103,000 ballots left to count, more than a third of which are in Sonoma County, which Harris carried by 24 points. Harris now leads by 52,686 votes, and her margin should grow by another 10,000 votes once the remaining ballots are counted.

To win, Cooley would now have to carry the remaining ballots by a margin of 78-14. The Cooley campaign looked at those figures and, according to Spillane, decided that "frankly the margin is just too great to be made up with the votes that are remaining to be counted."

"We debated frankly conceding yesterday or the day before," he said.

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