Rep. Barbara Lee is endorsing Democrat Kamala Harris for president, it was announced Thursday. But the declaration was swiftly condemned by Lee’s fervent base of progressive supporters, who label Harris, a former prosecutor, as a tool of law enforcement and predisposed to centrist policies.
Acknowledging the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American women to run for president, and a figure inspiring Harris’s campaign, Lee said, “Shirley set us on a path toward progress, and now Senator Kamala Harris picks up the baton.”
“As just the third African American woman from a major party to run for President, I am so proud to endorse her candidacy as she continues this fight for equality, fairness, and dignity for all Americans.”
Harris, a former Alameda County prosecutor before becoming San Francisco district attorney and later state attorney general, announced her candidacy on Jan. 27 to a throng of more than 20,000 people at a campaign kickoff in Oakland.
The excitement attached to Harris’s bid for president apparently does not include some members of Lee’s deep progressive base, who reacted with a mixture of surprise and scorn toward Lee, one of the most progressive member of Congress, endorsing a candidate expected to run a moderate to left wing campaign for president.
But not all were as contemptuous of Lee’s endorsement.