California

‘Women of color...deserve a seat at the table:’ Online reactions to Kamala Harris 2020 bid

Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris on Monday declared that she was running for president, aiming to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.

The former California attorney general made her announcement from her alma mater, Howard University. Long rumored to be considering a run, Harris’ national profile grew in part to her prosecutorial questioning of then-Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Harris also announced her candidacy on Twitter.

Harris’ announcement coincided not only with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but with the anniversary of Shirley Chisholm becoming the first black woman to run for president.

Harris is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants. Her alma mater Howard University is a federally designated historically black university.

Harris is the second woman of color to announce her candidacy in the 2020 presidential election. She was preceded by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who is of Samoan descent.

Harris grew up in Oakland. Rep. Barbara Lee, the Democratic congresswoman who represents Oakland, expressed excitement for Harris’ announcement, saying that “women of color, especially African-American women, have been the backbone of the Democratic party” and they “deserve a seat at the table,” in a video tweeted by Politico CA Playbook senior writer Carla Marinucci.

The senator from California has some decidedly Californian financial supporters, including several media and tech companies, according to Daily Beast reporter Thor Benson, who compiled a list of top donors.

Harris is widely considered a top tier Democratic presidential candidate, amidst a field that includes or could include Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand, former Texas senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden.

One possible opponent, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, offered some words of encouragement for Harris.

With the presidential announcement also came some confusion over how to correctly pronounce Harris’ first name.

Though Harris announcement was eagerly anticipated by many Democrats, her record as former California attorney general left others feeling cold.

Harris, whose campaign slogan is “For the People,” isn’t shying away from her background as San Francisco’s district attorney and as the state’s top cop.

Some felt her background as a prosecutor could be a strength as Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign continues.

Trump has not yet weighed in on Harris’ candidacy.

Harris is set to hold a campaign rally in Oakland in six days, leading journalists and political strategists to speculate about the crowd size.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
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