Kamala Harris to reportedly announce presidential bid on MLK Day

January 10, 2019 - 9:54 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- Kamala Harris is going to run for president in 2020, KCBS Radio reports.

Harris is expected to announce her candidacy at a campaign rally in Oakland on or around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, sources close to the freshman senator told KCBS.

Harris, 54, has been busy promoting her book "The Truths We Hold: An American Journey," on talk shows and at events. 

In the memoir published Tuesday, the California Democrat describes herself as a "progressive prosecutor" and says it's a "false choice" to decide between supporting the police and advocating for greater scrutiny of law enforcement. The argument is aimed at liberal critics of her record who argue she was sometimes too quick to side with the police and too slow to adopt sentencing reforms.

"I know that most police officers deserve to be proud of their public service and commended for the way they do their jobs," Harris writes in "The Truths We Hold." ''I know how difficult and dangerous the job is, day in and day out, and I know how hard it is for the officers' families, who have to wonder if the person they love will be coming home at the end of each shift."

After high-profile fatal shootings involving police officers and unarmed people of color, the criminal justice system's treatment of minorities is a top issue among Democratic voters. The passage suggests Harris is aware that her seven years as the district attorney in San Francisco, followed by six years as California's attorney general, is something she will have to explain and signals how she may frame her law enforcement career if she decides to run for the White House.

"It's a presidential campaign, and every aspect of a candidate's record is going to be scrutinized and they're going to have to answer for it," said Mo Elleithee, a longtime Democratic operative who leads Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service. "She knows that this is something that's heading her way and a good candidate is one who doesn't wait for it to hit them. A good candidate is someone who addresses it proactively, and she appears to be doing that."

By addressing policing in the book, Harris is taking on an issue that confronted Democrats and some Republicans in 2016. Democrat Hillary Clinton was criticized for her husband's role in passing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which created stricter penalties for drug offenders and funneled billions of dollars toward more police and new prisons.

The issue is likely to be the subject of fierce debate in 2020 as well and could expose divisions among the wide field of candidates — presenting hurdles for some and opportunity for others.

While it's not yet clear how Harris' prosecutorial background could affect her primary bid, it could help her if she faces President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election.

Sources tell KCBS the Bay Area is the preferred backdrop for the announcement.