Kamala Harris Mulls Presidential Run After Book Tour

Harris has enjoyed a burst of free publicity on national talk shows…

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Kamala Harris/IMAGE: C-SPAN via YouTube

(Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times) Felicia Jones drove from Montclair to Los Angeles in the predawn darkness Sunday to get a good spot in line to meet U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris at a book reading.

It worked.

“I’m waiting for that announcement,” Jones told Harris six hours later as the Democratic senator signed a book at a store in the Grove shopping mall.

That would be the senator’s announcement that she’s running for president. Jones offered to volunteer for the campaign. Harris replied that she might take her up on that — if she gets in the race.


After events in San Francisco, New York and Washington, Harris was wrapping up her five-day book tour Sunday with two stops in Los Angeles. By all appearances, it was as much about preparing to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 as it was about selling books.

Alma Delin of North Hills showed up at the event in a black T-shirt reading, “The Future is Female.”

“In other countries, there are female presidents — why not the U.S.?” she said.

Following the custom of White House contenders who use book launches to promote their candidacies before announcing their campaigns, Harris has enjoyed a burst of free publicity on national talk shows, including ABC’s “The View” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on CBS.

Colbert was one of many interviewers who asked if she would be running for president.

“I might,” she responded with a smile.

Harris dodged the question of whether reports that she plans to announce her candidacy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day were accurate, saying only that Americans should always honor the civil rights leader.

“Superheroes Are Everywhere,” the new children’s book that Harris was promoting at her first reading in L.A., echoes her political speeches in places. One passage pays tribute to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and other civil rights icons.

“They fought in court because they knew that people aren’t always treated equally, but should be,” she read aloud to hundreds of admirers in the children’s section at Barnes & Noble, including a cluster of toddlers on the floor.

The daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Harris is one of several women in Congress laying the groundwork to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii are already running, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is expected to announce her candidacy soon. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is considering whether to run.

Among those in the crowd Sunday at the Grove was Ryan Damodaran of Burbank. Like Harris, he is the son of an immigrant from Chennai, India.

“You don’t see a lot of Indians in such prominent roles in the country,” he said. “She has such a strong voice, and we need more young voices in the Democratic Party, and I think she can be the face of the future.”

Damodaran, who is in entertainment marketing, was carrying his squirming 11-month-old boy, Noah.

“I want to get my son started early on getting active in the world,” he said.

©2019 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.