The primaries are over, and now Los Angeles Country District Attorney Steve Cooley will face San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris in the California Attorney General race.

Cooley, a moderate Republican from Southern California, is expected to give Harris, a liberal Democrat from San Francisco, a run for her money in the November general election.

Although Cooley's conservative opponents in the Republican primary charged him as being “soft on crime” due to his stance on California's “Three Strikes” law, the L.A. prosecutor's position on such an issue may go over well with middle-of-the-road voters.

Cooley believes a convicted felon should only be sent to prison for 25 years to life on a “third strike” if he or she commits a serious or violent crime, and not for something more minor.

As the L.A. County district attorney, Cooley also has earned wide name recognition — he's been working such high-profile cases as the Phil Spector murder trial in the nation's second largest media market for ten years.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris

Harris, on the other hand, has not benefited from the same kind of statewide or national exposure as the San Francisco district attorney.

Yet she has received unflattering press from such news outlets as the S.F. Weekly for her less-than-stellar felony convictions rates over the past two years.

In under-publicized, “down-ticket” races such as the one for state attorney general, California voters, according to political observers, often pick a candidate they know best, which may help Cooley.

In addition, a majority of the state's voters reside in Cooley's political base: Southern California.

But Harris is still a Democrat in a heavily Democratic state, and Cooley will somehow have to reach out and win over a sizable percentage of those voters.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly