California’s U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a former Democratic presidential candidate and now a leading contender for the party’s vice presidential pick, has endorsed Monique Worrell in Orlando’s State Attorney election, Worrell’s campaign announced Thursday.
Worrell is a former law professor and justice reform lawyer running for the office opening up for Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, which serves Orange and Osceola counties. She is in a fierce four-way Democratic primary battle with former Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr., the current JC 9 Chief Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra and another Assistant State Attorney, Ryan Williams of Florida’s 5th Judicial Circuit, who also is a former assistant state attorney in JC 9.
Worrell already has received Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ endorsement, and earlier this week announced backing from singer John Legend.
The latest announcement from Worrell’s campaign did not include a statement from Harris.
“For far too long, the State Attorney’s Office has helped perpetuate the notion that justice is a privilege for the wealthy and that poverty is deserving of criminal punishment,” Worrell said. “I am running for state attorney to change the culture of prosecution and disrupt the concentration of power that has held a grip on our criminal legal system. It is time to create a system that represents fairness and equality, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or how much money you have.”
Harris is a former California Attorney General and a former District Attorney for San Francisco, California’s equivalent of Florida’s State Attorney. Harris also has endorsed the candidacies in several other State Attorney races around the country, including for Kim Foxx in Chicago, Kim Gardner in St. Louis, and and George Gascón in Los Angeles.
Worrell, Perry, Barra, and Williams are battling to replace State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who is stepping down after one term.
Perry has the endorsement of another leading contender for the Democratic Party’s vice presidential pick, Orlando’s Rep. Val Demings and her husband, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. Ayala and past JC 9 State Attorney Lawson Lamar have endorsed Barra. Williams has gathered endorsements from dozens of current and former prosecutors, 11 past Orange County Bar Association presidents, and two other sitting State Attorneys.
The winner of the Aug. 18 Democratic primary is likely to claim the office, but first must contend with independent candidate Jose Torroella in the November general election.