Cooley to take on Harman in GOP primary for AG

After all the writing that’s been done about the crowded, six-candidate Democratic primary race for state Attorney General, there’s something new to report on the other side: state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, is no longer the only candidate in the GOP field.

Steve CooleyLos Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley announced today he has formed an exploratory committee, and has begun setting up a campaign Web site.

“Many people from law enforcement and throughout the political spectrum are urging me to run for Attorney General,” stated Cooley. “I am proud of my crime fighting record as District Attorney. As a career prosecutor and District Attorney of Los Angeles County I have the experience and drive to be California’s top law enforcement officer.”

“California’s Attorney General must be a law enforcement leader with a proven track record of reducing crime and fighting fraud and public corruption,” he said.

The 62-year-old, three-term DA from Toluca Lake claims to have the respect of rank and file cops as well as top law enforcement executives, and crime rates have fallen during his tenure.

Harman – who earlier today rolled out a sort of Three-Strikes law that would let judges permanently revoke licenses from three-time DUI convicts – wasted no time in firing the first salvo at his new rival. His campaign issued a statement from Mike Reynolds of Fresno, co-author of California’s Three Strikes sentencing law:

“Steve Cooley is the most prominent opponent of California’s ‘Three Strikes and You’re Out’ law,” Reynolds said in the statement. “In 2006, Cooley teamed up with pro-prisoner rights Democratic Senator Gloria Romero to promote legislation that would have devastated ‘Three Strikes.’ Serious violent criminals would be released and put back out on the streets only to commit more crime. In fact, under his plan over 2,400 convicted felons would have been put back out into our neighborhoods.”

I’d bet the Democrats are happy that Harman’s going to have to spend some money and time on his primary after all.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.