D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) is backing California Sen. Kamala D. Harris in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
“She’s a leader who’s not afraid to tackle difficult issues, she relies on evidence-based approaches to resolve complicated problems and importantly, when she makes a mistake, she makes herself accountable,” Racine told The Washington Post. “How refreshing is that?”
Racine says he got to know Harris well in 2014, when he was running for attorney general and she was seeking reelection as California’s attorney general. Racine is friends with Douglas Emhoff, who is married to Harris and who worked alongside Racine at the law firm Venable LLP. The couple organized a fundraiser for Racine in California and Racine relied on Harris for advice on managing his office when he became the city’s first-ever elected attorney general.
Harris “has demonstrated over a period of nearly 20 years of public service that she has the grit, the toughness, the embedded values and deeply ingrained values of fairness to really lead the Democratic Party and defeat Donald Trump,” said Racine, who was easily reelected to a second term last November.
Racine told Politico that he would consider serving as U.S. attorney general in a Harris administration, but when pressed in an interview Thursday, Racine demurred. He said he would seriously consider opportunities in any Democratic White House.
Racine’s national profile has been rising. He has emerged as one of the most aggressive Democratic attorneys general confronting President Trump. He co-chairs the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Racine’s office has filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging violations of anti-corruption clauses in the U.S. Constitution and launched a civil investigation into the president’s inaugural committee.
Some in the party's progressive wing have criticized Harris’ record as San Francisco’s district attorney from 2004 to 2011 and as California’s attorney general from 2011 to early 2017.
But Racine said as attorney general, Harris was on the vanguard of the criminal justice reform by expanding implicit bias training for local law enforcement and publicizing data that shows bias in the justice system.
Voters in the District of Columbia are currently set to vote last in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, although some are trying to move up the election date.