Kamala Harris has solidified her lead in the California State Attorney General's race, and appears to have a fairly direct path to victory.
The current tally from the Secretary of State's office shows Harris with a 30,904 vote (.4%) lead over Republican Steve Cooley. This lead appears to be fairly solid based upon several facts:
Orange County, which went 2 to 1 for Cooley, has counted and reported all but 1,598 ballots. San Diego County, which favored Cooley by about 13.5%, is down to 35,000 ballots left to process. Other pro-Cooley counties appear to be more than offset by untallied votes from counties which favored Harris on election day.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County still has approximately 100,000 ballots remaining to process and report. In the last two ballot reports from L.A. (incorporating a greater percentage of provisional ballots, which, as we've discussed in prior posts, tend to favor Harris to a greater extent than the overall vote count), Harris has held at least a 22% advantage over Cooley, collecting over 61% of the vote, compared to Cooley's under 39%.
The Cooley camp has responded to the unfavorable vote totals in L.A. County by sending a swarm of workers, reportedly including retired law enforcement officers, to the County Registrar's office in Norwalk, where, according to the Harris campaign, they are acting aggressively and are crowding county workers who are attempting to validate (or invalidate) provisional ballots based upon a review of the provisional ballot envelopes containing the provisional ballots. (Workers cannot determine how the voter cast his or her vote when reviewing the ballot envelope to make a determination of validity; the ballot is sealed within the provisional envelope.) Harris volunteers, reportedly including members of the SEIU and the West LA Democratic Club, are keeping an eye on the provisional ballot processing, proceeding at approximately 90 stations in a secured room on the 4th floor. Workers from both campaigns are also keeping an eye on each other during this process.
The Cooley campaign also appears to be putting together a PR campaign to discredit the Los Angeles Registrar, and to question the validity of the Los Angeles vote count. Much like the argument of Joe Miller in Alaska, where the tea-party-supported candidate is attempting to beat write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, Cooley seems to be arguing that voter intent should be ignored, unless that voter has complied with all technical rules in casting his or her ballot. Meanwhile, tension is increasing as Steve Cooley sees his victory, which he appeared to have once taken for granted, now appears to be slipping away.