Harris is running against longtime Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who is also a Democrat. California has a “jungle” primary system, in which the top-two vote getters in the race advance to the general election regardless of their party affiliation. Since the Golden State adopted the system in 2010, many primaries in the heavily blue-leaning state have resulted in contests pitting one Democrat against another.
The White House endorsements give Harris, a longtime Obama ally, an important boost over Sanchez as the general election approaches.
“Kamala Harris fights for us,” Obama said in a statement released Tuesday. “That’s why I’m so proud to endorse her for United States Senator. And if you send her to the Senate, she’ll be a fearless fighter for the people of California ― all the people of California ― every single day.”
Obama previously endorsed Harris in her 2010 bid to become California attorney general.
Biden said in his endorsement that he first got to know Harris when his son Beau was serving as Delaware’s Attorney General.
“I saw them take on big banks, lift up the voices of working people, and protect women and children from abuse and violence,” he said. “Beau always supported her, and I’m proud to support her candidacy for the United States Senate. I served in the Senate and have worked my entire career with Senators from both parties. Today’s Senate needs people like her ― leaders who will always fight to make a difference and who never forget where they come from.”
Prominent Democrats including California Gov. Jerry Brown, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have also endorsed Harris.
Sanchez, meanwhile, is looking to build a coalition of Hispanic and Republican voters. Several well-known Republicans have endorsed her, including conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.
Regardless of the outcome, the election is poised to be historic. If elected, Harris would be the first South Asian-American in the Senate and the first black woman elected to the chamber in over 20 years, while Sanchez would be the Senate’s first Latina.
HuffPost Pollster, which tracks all publicly available opinion polls, shows Harris with a significant lead over Sanchez: