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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 19, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 47
Democrat leads close California Attorney General race - she won't appeal Prop 8 ruling
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Democrat leads close California Attorney General race - she won't appeal Prop 8 ruling

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Democrat Kamala Harris leads Republican Steve Cooley in the race for California Attorney General.

As SGN goes to press, Harris leads by 30,730 votes and is widening her lead over Cooley as counting continues.

The winner will replace current attorney general Jerry Brown, who was elected Governor.

Which one wins the race might also determine the fate of California's Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughan Walker found Prop 8 unconstitutional on August 4. The Ninth Circuit Court of appeals has stayed his decision pending appeal.

Unless Walker's decision is reversed on appeal, the stay will eventually be lifted, Prop 8 will be set aside, and same-sex couples will once again be able to marry legally in California.

ProtectMarriage.com, the group that ran the successful campaign to pass Prop 8, wants to appeal Walker's decision.

Their problem is that they may lack legal standing to do so because they do not represent California voters and are not charged with enforcing the state's marriage laws.

California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and attorney general Jerry Brown do have standing to appeal, but both have said they will not.

In January, Brown will replace Schwarzenegger as governor.

Either Harris or Cooley will replace him as attorney general. Harris has promised she will not appeal Walker's Prop 8 ruling. Cooley has said he will appeal.

If the current trend continues and Harris wins the election, there may be no appeal in the Prop 8 case and Walker's decision will stand.

California law requires county voting officials to finish their counts by November 30 and furnish the totals to the Secretary of State's office by December 3.

Cooley led the count on election night, and actually declared himself the winner, but Harris pulled ahead the next day.

On November 5, Cooley regained the lead, but Harris pulled ahead again on November 12.

Harris carried the San Francisco Bay Area and the northern California coast counties where Democrats usually do well. She also carried Cooley's base in Los Angeles County, largely on the strength of a large turnout of Latino voters.

All votes that remain to be counted are from damaged ballots or provisional ballots given to voters who went to the wrong polling place or claimed they never received their vote-by-mail ballots.

Democrats have accused Cooley's campaign of intimidating election officials and trying to suppress legal provisional ballots.

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