California Dems to decide on ex-Facebook exec in primary

Chris Kelly, former chief privacy officer at the social network, is one of the two front-runners in Tuesday's primary for state attorney general.

A screenshot from the political attack ad that California attorney general candidate Kamala Harris is running against Chris Kelly. YouTube

California Democrats will decide Tuesday whether a former Facebook executive will have a shot at becoming state attorney general.

Chris Kelly, former chief privacy officer of the social network, is up against San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris in the party's primary. The winner will go on to the general election in November.

Kelly has earned the support of many deep-pocketed Valley types, including other current and former Facebook executives, and has cited his law-and-order role at a successful company as evidence that he can take on this role of attorney general in the most populous state. Meanwhile, Harris has connected Kelly directly to Facebook's controversial privacy policies in an attack ad that has been airing recently in the Los Angeles area. A voice-over in the ad asserts plainly: "Chris Kelly released your private information."

In response, the Kelly campaign has called the ad "patently false" and pointed out that Kelly, who took a leave of absence from Facebook and then formally resigned his post in March, has actually been critical of Facebook's handling of its most recent privacy controversy .

Harris, who has been endorsed by California's current senators as well as several major newspapers, is still considered the front-runner in the field of seven total primary candidates. Kelly, who has financed his candidacy with $12 million of his own money, is considered to be her closest challenger.

But voters may not feel especially compelled to vote in what may be the closest thing yet to a political referendum on Facebook and how it's run. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, turnout for the primary may be a record low.

 

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