L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley has lawyered up in preparation for a drawn-out fight with Kamala Harris in the still too-close-to-call race for attorney general.
In a memo to supporters on Thursday night, Cooley's consultant Kevin Spillane vowed to fight any "manipulations of the ballot counting process by the Harris campaign."
Cooley also claimed a potential advantage in the ongoing tabulation, arguing there are more uncounted ballots in counties that favored Cooley than in counties that went for Harris.
As of 9 a.m. today, Harris led Cooley by 17,000 votes, or about two-tenths of a percent. The Harris campaign has argued that because Harris led among votes cast on Election Day, she should have a 3-point advantage among the 1.9 million or so uncounted ballots statewide.
The Harris camp is probably hoping the election doesn't come down to those 75 ballots found yesterday floating in a pond at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. For reasons unknown, a poll worker is alleged to have stolen the ballots and a memory pack from a San Francisco polling place on election day. The San Francisco Department of Elections says the suspect, Karl Nicholas, used to be a registered Republican but is now a "decline to state."
Authorities say the ballots are waterlogged, and probably couldn't be counted even if they were legible, because the "chain of custody" had been broken. Harris beat Cooley 70-20 in San Francisco, so you figure those ballots would have given her an extra 37-vote margin. It probably won't matter, but who knows. In a super-close race, everything matters.
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So far, the Harris campaign has seemed more confident than the Cooley campaign. In his memo, Spillane said the campaign is "optimistic" and argued that Cooley has a "very strong chance of winning." The Harris campaign, meanwhile, asserted Wednesday that Harris "will be the next Attorney General of the State of California."
Perhaps the Cooley campaign simply doesn't want to repeat the mistake that Cooley made on Tuesday night, when he declared victory even though his advisers told him it was too early. Once bitten, twice shy.
Below, from Fox 11 News, the video of that Dewey-esque moment: