California Attorney General Kamala Harris, has been elected California’s first new U.S. senator in 24 years.
On Tuesday, Harris— who will succeed Barbara Boxer— became the first African-American and Asian-American to represent California in the Senate.
Harris, whose parents are of Jamaican and Indian descent, defeated competitor, Loretta Sanchez who both ran as Democrats, per California’s “top-two” primary system, the two were allowed to face-off for the Senate seat on Election Day. The unconventional clause, approved by Californians in 2010, allows the top two candidates regardless of party to advance to the general election.
With endorsements from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Jerry Brown, and the California Democratic Party, Harris beat Sanchez, swaying 66% of the state’s voters.
“Together, we are going to lead the nation just as the state of California always has,” Harris said on her website. “I am honored by the trust you have placed in me and ready to get to work in the Senate.”
Harris has served as California’s Attorney General since 2010. During her tenure, she’s tackled topics such as transnational gangs, drug trafficking across the border and marriage equality. Recently, in an effort to combat illegal prostitution and sex trafficking, Harris charged the founders and controlling shareholders of the online advertising website Backpage with multiple counts of sexual exploitation.
She will become just the second African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, following Illinois’ Carol Moseley Braun.