Los Angeles: Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, is on the cusp of becoming the first Indian- American Senator in the US Congress with latest polls placing her “far ahead” of her rival days before the November 8 general elections.
Ms Harris, 51, has already got the backing of US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to be the state’s next Senator, brightening her chances to become the first from the community ever to be a member of the Upper House.
She heads into the US Senate election with a considerable lead over fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, whose plan to coalesce Republicans and Latinos behind her has not materialised, according to a new poll.
Ms Harris is far ahead of Sanchez for US Senate, The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday.
Ms Harris is leading Ms Sanchez, a 10-term congresswoman from Orange, 47 to 23 per cent, among likely voters.
Some 17 per cent remain undecided, and another 13 per cent volunteered that they plan to sit out the contest between two members of the same party. Among those who have already voted, 55 per cent chose Ms Harris, 26 per cent backed Ms Sanchez and 14 per cent said neither, the report said.
While Ms Sanchez has touted herself as the business-friendly choice for disaffected voters, about one-third of Republicans and 12 per cent of unaligned voters told pollsters they will not cast a ballot for either Ms Sanchez or Ms Harris, it said.
That means more Republicans are choosing not to vote at all than to support Ms Sanchez (26 per cent). The survey, released four days before voters head to the polls, also found Republicans do not see much ideological difference between them, the report said.
Ms Harris has never trailed since launching her bid in January last year, with her share of the vote increasing seven percentage points since a May poll. She continues to hold advantages in all major regions of the state, and with voters in all age ranges and educational backgrounds, it said.
Harris, who was born in Oakland, California, is the daughter of an Indian mother who emigrated from Chennai in 1960 and a Jamaican American father.
California Democrats have overwhelmingly endorsed Ms Harris for US Senate, solidifying her front-runner status in the race to become California’s next Senator.
Harris and Loretta Sanchez were vying for their party’s seal of approval to replace Senator Barbara Boxer, who is retiring.
If she wins, Ms Harris will make history by becoming the first ever US Senator of Indian-origin.
There have been several Indian-American Congressmen in the House of Representatives, including current member Ami Bera and retired member Dalip Singh Saund, both from California too.