Did Marijuana Sink Steve Cooley?
November 15, 2010
Dennis Romero, LA WeeklyThey're still counting ballots down in Norwalk, but Americans for Safe Access is ready to declare a winner in the attorney general's race: Kamala Harris. ASA supports medical marijuana, and attacked Steve Cooley during the campaign for trying to shut down dispensaries. Now, the group would like its due:
"This remarkable result for Kamala Harris shows the political strength of patient advocates," said ASA California Director Don Duncan. "Our efforts to educate the public about Steve Cooley's record made the difference, particularly on his home turf of LA, where he lost by 14 points." Harris leads Cooley by 29,000 votes in the latest count. There are still several hundred thousand ballots left to be tabulated.
In a conference call shortly after the election, Harris strategist Ace Smith was asked whether Americans for Safe Access and other pro-marijuana groups deserved to share some of the credit for damaging Cooley's campaign.
Smith's less-than-charitable response: "I think there's a zillion things that went into this."
At the time, the Harris campaign seemed much more interested in attributing her surprisingly strong showing to their own hard work, and to errors by the Cooley campaign.
Harris is not nearly the drug warrior that Cooley is, but like him she opposed Prop. 19.