Attorney General Race Too Close to Call; Results Could Be Weeks Away

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Kamala Harris
Californians can expect to hurry up and wait for final results in the undisputed nail-biter statewide election of 2010, the attorney general's race between San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris and Los Angeles D.A. Steve Cooley.

With all voting precincts reporting, Harris holds a lead of less than 15,000 votes over Cooley, according to the California Secretary of State's office. It's a minuscule lead -- Harris has 45.9 percent of the vote to Cooley's 45.7 percent. With many absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted -- the Cooley campaign claims there are a million such votes to be tallied -- it could be weeks before a winner is declared.

That's not to say Harris' come-from-behind act hasn't embarrassed Cooley, who prematurely declared victory last night when early returns showed him well ahead. The San Francisco Chronicle even called the race on the web for Cooley at midnight.

The Harris campaign lost no time gloating over such mistakes when further vote-counting showed her narrowly ahead, declaring in a press release:

In spite of Steve Cooley's Dewey-esque declaration of victory at 11:00 pm Tuesday night - which was followed six hours later by a cancellation of a Wednesday morning "victory" press conference - San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will be the next Attorney General of the State of California.

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The San Francisco Chronicle called the race early for Cooley
That also might be premature. A surge of absentee ballots for Cooley could still tilt the race in his favor. Kevin Spillane, a Cooley spokesman, posted this statement on the campaign's website:

With the counties completing their semi-official returns, Steve Cooley trails Kamala Harris by 14,838 votes - two-tenths of a percentage point. There are over 1 million provisional and absentee ballots yet to be counted.

The race for Attorney General will not be decided for at least another couple of weeks, and potentially could go until the official Certification of Vote deadline on December 3.

We will continue to monitor the situation. The only thing we are certain of is that the final outcome will be close. We are grateful for all the good wishes of our supporters and will keep you updated.

At this point, it appears that both campaigns are taking their cues from the San Francisco Giants, and aren't ready to stop believing.

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