Washington: Endorsed by US President
Barack Obama, Indian-American Kamala Harris today won the
election for Attorney General of California, soon after Indian
origin Nikki Haley of Republican Party scripted history by
winning the governorship of South Carolina.
Kamala will be the first woman to hold the office of
Attorney General in California, elections for which were held
Daughter of an Indian mother and African-American
father, Kamala is currently the San Francisco Attorney
General. She would replace Democratic Jerry Brown who won the
election for Governor of California on Tuesday.
Kamala, who was the only Indian-American candidate to
be publicly endorsed by Obama, defeated Steve Cooley of the
Republican Party in a tough fight.
"Kamala has done a remarkable job in San Francisco.
Now it`s time to send her to Sacramento so she can get those
same results for all Californians -- but she needs our help if
she`s going to win this race," Obama had said in his
endorsement message last month.
The US President had also attended a fund raiser for
Kamala in California last month.
In key mid-term polls in which President Obama`s
Democrats were routed, 38-year-old-Haley, born of Sikh parents
who migrated from Punjab, became only the second Indian-
American to be a Governor of a US State after Bobby Jindal of
Louisiana; and also the first Indian-origin woman Governor.
Haley received 52 per cent of votes as against her
Democratic rival Vincent Sheehan who polled 46 per cent.
She has served three-terms in the South Carolina House
of Representatives where she represented Lexington
County and was also the first Indian-American to hold office
in that state.
Born and raised in the East Bay, Kamala was elected as
the first woman District Attorney in San Francisco`s history
in December 2003, and as the first African-American woman and
South Asian American woman in California to hold the office.
She was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term in November
2007. Kamala is the daughter of Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, a
Tamilian breast cancer specialist who traveled to the United
States from Chennai, to pursue her graduate studies at UC
After attending public schools, her strong commitment
to justice and public service led her to Howard University,
America’s oldest historically Black university, and then to
the University of California and Hastings College of the Law.
She is the recipient of numerous awards.
California’s largest legal newspaper, The Daily
Journal, designated Kamala as one of the top 75 women
litigators in California - the only elected official to
receive that honour - as well as one of the top 100 lawyers in
She was recognized as a `Woman of Power` by the
National Urban League and received the Thurgood Marshall Award
from the National Black Prosecutors Association. She has been
featured on the Oprah Show and in Newsweek as one of
"America’s 20 Most Powerful Women."
She was selected as one of 24 elected leaders from
throughout the country to serve as a Rodel Fellow with the
Additionally, Kamala was elected to the Board of
Directors of the California District Attorneys Association and
is a Vice President of the National District Attorney?s
Six other Indian-origin candidates failed to enter the
House of Representatives in the poll where the Democrats have
Five of them were Democrats - Manan Trivedi from
Pennsylvania, Ami Bera from California, Raj Goyle from Kansas,
Ravi Sangisetty from Louisiana and Surya Yalamanchili from
Ohio. Ashvin Lad from Illinois is the only Republican Indian
American in fray.
So far only two Indian-Americans have made it to the
House of Representatives - Dalip Singh Saund and Bobby Piyush
In Pennsylvania, Trivedi, a Iraq war veteran, who was
ahead in the initial counting of votes lost to Republican Jim
Gerlach. While Trivedi had received 99,517 votes, Gerlach had
received 131,715 of the total votes polled.