|Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley|
If State Attorney General Kamala Harris successfully wins the U.S. Senate race next year to replace the retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, Gov. Jerry Brown would then make an appointment to fill the remaining two years on Harris' term.
As it currently stands, Harris is the prohibitive favorite in an increasingly shrinking field of possible Senate candidates.
Other politicians have either opened 2018 campaign accounts for attorney general or, like O'Malley, are aggressively accessing the political landscape for the pending opening.
Former State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett opened a 2018 campaign account for state attorney general last week. Whether or not the account is merely a repository for leftover campaign contributions is unclear. Former Democratic legislators Lou Correa and Dario Frommer have done the same, according to finance records.
In addition, State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is said to have great interest in the attorney general's office and former State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is another name often included in the mix of potential candidates. Anne Gust Brown, the governor's wife, could even be named as a caretaker appointment to ensure a clean slate of candidates for 2018.
O'Malley's rumored interest in statewide office is bolstered by a view she has moved to raise her profile recently beginning with the roll out of an initiative to focus on human trafficking in Oakland, along with an emphasis on prosecuting johns rather than sex workers.
Insiders are also quick to note O'Malley's prominence at a recent press conference announcing the arrest of 16 gang members last week in East Oakland. And last month, when O'Malley appeared before the Oakland City Council, her physical appearance could be described as noticeably refreshed.
For O'Malley, an appointment is likely her only path to the attorney general's office. Since being appointed district attorney in 2009, O'Malley has never ran a campaign in a contested election. O'Malley ran unopposed during elections in 2010 and 2014.