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Cooley takes a slim lead in attorney general election

Harris had been ahead in the tight race. About 2 million ballots remain uncounted.

November 07, 2010|By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley built a narrow lead Saturday in the race for California attorney general, according to figures released by state elections officials.

With roughly 2 million ballots still waiting to be counted in the extremely tight race, the Republican candidate pulled ahead of San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris by 22,817 votes, three-tenths of a point. Harris, a Democrat, had led the race by about 9,000 votes two days earlier.

The race for attorney general is one of the closest in state history, and the California secretary of state's office says it may be weeks before all ballots are fully counted and a clear winner emerges. More fluctuations are likely.

The uncounted votes include many vote-by-mail ballots, including some that were turned in on election day, as well as provisional and damaged ballots. Signatures on the vote-by-mail and provisional ballots must be verified by elections workers before the votes are counted.

Election officials have until Nov. 30 to tally all the votes.

Cooley was widely seen as an early favorite in the race, thanks to a history of electoral success in Los Angeles County, where he became the first district attorney in more than 70 years to win three terms.

But Harris surprised many by leading Cooley by more than 14 percentage points in Los Angeles County.

phil.willon@latimes.com

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