Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley convincingly won the GOP primary for attorney general on Tuesday, giving Republicans a strong chance at capturing the state’s top law enforcement job in the November contest, reports the Los Angeles Times. His San Francisco counterpart, Kamala Harris, appeared to overcome an aggressive – and expensive – challenge in the Democratic primary as she seeks to become the first woman, first Asian and first African American to serve as attorney general. Harris claimed victory late Tuesday, though her nearest rival had yet to concede.
Cooley, a political moderate who has won three district attorney elections in heavily Democratic Los Angeles County, was leading despite a bruising primary battle in which his two GOP rivals unsuccessfully attempted to portray him as being too liberal for the Republican faithful. Despite his numerous law enforcement endorsements, Cooley came under fire for his attempt four years ago to seek changes to the “three-strikes” law that would have – with some exceptions – limited the law’s sentences of 25 years to life to criminals whose third strikes were violent or serious. California’s attorney general represents the state in civil and criminal matters, serves as legal counsel to state agencies and boards, oversees narcotics enforcement, and operates programs targeting environmental, consumer and other crime.