San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, in front of City Hall on November 12, 2008 who filed for 2010 campaign for Attorney General.
—Photo by Mona T. Brooks /

from the L.A. Weekly

Kamala Harris Defeats Steve Cooley For California Attorney General

We’ve been saying for a while that the math didn’t look good for Steve Cooley. But now we can go ahead and make it official.

Steve Cooley has lost. Kamala Harris will be the next attorney general of California.

Out of an abundance of laziness caution, we’ve held off until now. But we’re getting tired of waiting for the AP to call this thing, and Eric Garcetti has already beaten us to the punch anyway.

A mathematical explanation/justification after the jump.

The Secretary of State’s office has been keeping track of the uncounted ballots on its website. That report lists 394,000 untabulated votes as of this morning, but that’s out of date. There are no more than 154,000 ballots remaining, and there are probably less. Update at 2:50 p.m.: With updates from four counties, there are now 124,000 ballots left, at most. (Explanation below.)

The county websites have more up-to-date figures in some cases than the Secretary of State. Using those numbers, we can say that Harris is leading by 49,535 votes. (2:50 update: 51,141 votes.) Given the geographic breakdown of the remaining uncounted ballots, we expect her to expand her lead by another 10,000 votes or so, ending up with a margin of six tenths of a percent (46.0-45.4).

In order to win the race, Cooley would have to win the remaining uncounted votes by a margin of 66-26. (Update at 2:50: Cooley would now have to win by 72-20.) The likelihood of that happening is extremely close to zero. One of his best counties was Orange County, and his margin there was only 60-31.

​If we knew nothing about the remaining ballots, you might say that Cooley has at least a chance. But we do know where the ballots are coming from — they’re mostly from counties that favored Harris — and we know that they’re mostly provisionals, which have also favored Harris.

We’d expect Harris to win the remaining votes by a tally of about 50-42. That’s just based on geography and doesn’t factor in her advantage from provisionals.

We now have much more information about how this race will end up than the AP and the L.A. Times did when they called the governor’s race for Jerry Brown at the stroke of 8 p.m. on Election Night.

It’s time to call it. Harris has won.

Congratulations, Ms. Harris. Job well done.

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