Ben Bergman | KPCC
In the lead up to tonight's debate between Rep. Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris, Sanchez announced her opposition to Proposition 57, an initiative that would allow some prisoners early parole.
Harris and Sanchez, both Democrats, are competing to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has represented California for more than 20 years.
At a news conference in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, Sanchez criticized the ballot measure and Harris' role in crafting the language for its summary paragraph while serving as the state's Attorney General. Harris has chosen not to take a position on any ballot measure.
"The ballot title and summary, written by Attorney General Kamala Harris, calls serious violent crimes 'non-violent,' including crimes such as rape by intoxication of an unconscious person, human trafficking involving a sex act with minors," Sanchez said in a statement. "Proposition 57 is the misleading and dangerous ballot initiative that would allow serious, violent criminals out on early release without completing their sentences."
California Democrats support the measure and have put more than $2 million behind it. It's also a top priority for Gov. Jerry Brown, who has said he sees Proposition 57 as a way to correct a tough-on-crime law he signed four decades ago that he now sees as a failure.
Sanchez' criticism of the ballot measure marks another step to the right during her candidacy – this, as she works to differentiate herself from Harris.
For its part, the Harris campaign accused Sanchez of cribbing from Donald Trump’s playbook, using false smears to scare up support for her campaign.
The Proposition 57 campaign also accused Sanchez, who is down in the polls, of playing political games.
"It's an uninformed disingenuous political cheap shot, in the long sad tradition of using Willie Horton-style scare tactics to mislead voters about criminal justice issues," the campaign said in a statement.