Kamala Harris, the first-term U.S. Senator from California, has decided to run for president as a Democrat in 2020, CBS News reported Thursday, citing affiliate KCBS. Harris will announce her run, most likely in Oakland, California, on or around Martin Luther King Day, which is January 21. Harris was born in Oakland.
Harris, who would be the first woman and the second African-American elected president, was previously the district attorney of San Francisco and the state attorney general of California prior to her election to the U.S. Senate in 2016.
The 54-year-old senator recently published a campaign-style book called The Truths We Hold: An American Journey and has been promoting the book in interviews this week despite not having yet declared that she’s officially running for president.
Harris will join what’s expected to be a crowded field of Democratic contenders for 2020. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has already launched an exploratory committee for a run. Other potential candidates include former Vice President Joseph Biden, former Texas Congressman and Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and donor Tom Steyer are among the Democrats who have announced that they’re not running in 2020.
The senator serves on the Judiciary, Budget, and Intelligence Committees.
While Harris has been praised for her policy competence and charismatic speaking style, concerns have been raised by some on the left side of the Democratic party for her record as a prosecutor, which is seen as out of step with the emerging consensus on the left in regards to criminal justice.
“Harris has emulated the Obama approach, delivering a combination of some notable progressive victories and pleasant rhetoric and a steadfast avoidance of structural change — paired, in some cases, with far-from-progressive policies,” the journal Jacobin wrote in 2017 about a potential Harris presidential candidacy.
The senator, however, has been seeking to establish her progressive credentials as she’s ramped up toward a run. Harris voted for the criminal justice reform bill that passed at the end of last year, per the Hill, while she has also announced her support for Medicare For All.
Politico reported last fall that Harris will focus on Iowa first, before later concentrating strongly on Nevada, South Carolina, and her home state of California.
Harris would be the first U.S. president from California since Ronald Reagan.