California’s Black Female Attorney General Running for U.S. Senate

SAN FRANCISCO — California Attorney General Kamala Harris will launch her campaign for retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat Tuesday morning, a source close to Harris told POLITICO.

Her announcement will come one day after Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, an ambitious figure seen as her chief rival, announced that he would not be running for Senate, positioning himself instead to run for governor in 2018. “I know that my head and my heart, my young family’s future, and our unfinished work all remain firmly in the State of California — not Washington D.C,” he said.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villiaraogosa, meanwhile, has said he is “seriously considering” entering the campaign. Tom Steyer, a hedge fund billionaire and environmentalist, is also seen as interested.

Boxer announced last week she wouldn’t seek reelection to the seat she has held since 1992.

Meanwhile, Tom Steyer is expected to weigh in publicly for the first time on Tuesday about his potential bid for California’s Senate seat, according to a person close to the billionaire, though it’s unclear if he’ll announce whether he plans to run.

“Tom will likely have something to say on Tuesday” the person said, adding that Steyer is likely to make a final decision by the end of this week.

A Steyer associate estimated that the billionaire has made more than 100 calls about a possible bid since Boxer decided last week not to seek reelection. Steyer’s team spent much of this weekend trying to figure out the logistics of a possible campaign, including its budget, staffing and message.

The former hedge fund manager and environmental activist began laying the groundwork for a run last month when he hired Democratic pollster Paul Maslin.

If Steyer runs, he’s expected to tap the connections and infrastructure he built while working on two successful campaigns over California ballot propositions in 2010 and 2012, as well his broader national electoral work in the recent midterm elections.

One associate said he has already amassed an email list of 1 million California voters.

Steyer — who announced in 2012 he was stepping down from Farallon Capital Management, the hedge fund he founded — spent more than $65 million on the midterms through his super PAC, the NextGen Climate Action Committee, and other arms of his massive political apparatus. His goal is to make climate change a top-tier political issue.

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