Attorney General of California Kamala Harris, left, with Governor of California Jerry Brown.
Indian-American Kamala Harris, the California Attorney General, today announced that she would run for the Senate seat from the state in 2016, setting the stage for a race that could be one of the most expensive in the country.
"I'm sharing with you that I'm launching my campaign to represent the people of California in the United States Senate. I want to be a voice for Californians," Ms. Harris, 50, said in a message to her supporters posted on her campaign website.
"I will be a fighter for the next generation on the critical issues facing our country will be a fighter for the next generation on the critical issues facing our country. I will be a fighter for middle class families who are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and diminishing opportunity," she said.
Ms. Harris, the former district attorney of San Francisco who was just re-elected to her second term as attorney general, was the first to formally declare her candidacy since current Senator Barbara Boxer, 74, has announced that she would not run for re-election in the 2016 elections.
If elected Ms. Harris, 50, would be the first ever Indian-American elected to the US Senate.
Born to an Indian mother, Dr Shyamala Gopalan, who emigrated from Chennai in 60s, and Jamaican American father, Stanford University economics professor Donald Harris, Harris is the first ever Asian-American and African-American to be
elected to this top position in California.
So far, only three Indian-Americans have been elected to the US House of Representatives: Mr. Dalip Singh Saund, Mr. Bobby Jindal and Mr. Ami Bera, who was re-elected for his second term last November.
Many potential contenders have expressed interest in the post including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire climate change activist Tom Steyer, as well as several members of the California congressional delegation.
But Harris's strong fundraising base in California from her two statewide runs and her close alliance with President Barack Obama, make her one of the most formidable candidates in the race.
Political pundits said Harris is a front-runner.
"She's the immediate front-runner," Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College told USA Today.