Capitol Alert

Gov. Jerry Brown endorses Kamala Harris’ U.S. Senate bid

Democrat Kamala Harris, a candidate for U.S. Senate, has bolstered her frontrunner status with endorsements from the California Democratic Party, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and labor and environmental heavyweights.

On Monday, Harris, the state attorney general, snagged the support of Gov. Jerry Brown, who despite being one of the state’s best-known politicians, seldom wades into contested intraparty primaries.

Brown issues only a handful of endorsements ahead of each election, giving his backing more heft than other statewide elected officials. Brown endorsed Democratic former state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for mayor of Sacramento, and state Sen. Isadore Hall, D-Compton, for Congress.

As the state’s top lawyer and law enforcement official, Brown said Harris has performed well, adding, “as her client, I know what a hell of a lawyer she is.”

“She’s strong. She’s intelligent. She knows what she’s doing,” Brown said in brief remarks at the state Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento.

Brown, himself a former attorney general, said the post has historically been a “stepping stone” to the governorship, mentioning his own experience as well as the electoral path of his father, former Gov. Pat Brown. But in this case, Brown said of Harris, “it’s a very clear pathway to Washington.”

His support comes a couple weeks ahead of the primary election where a whopping 34 candidates are running to succeed Democrat Barbara Boxer. Harris and fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, a veteran congresswoman from Orange County, have held the top-two positions in every public poll. They remain the only candidates to date with significant funding behind them, and both are airing television ads largely focusing on their respective records.

Several Republicans, including two former state party chairman, are also trying to emerge from the primary.

Last weekend, Harris appeared at the United Farm Workers union convention in Bakersfield, a chance to highlight her endorsement from Dolores Huerta, and reiterated her commitment to passing an immigration overhaul. Sanchez was invited, but pulled out, citing a family matter.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

Related stories from Sacramento Bee