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By Tim Hunt

Boxer's retirement creates a political scramble

Uploaded: Jan 20, 2015

Now that California's junior Senator, Barbara Boxer, has formally announced her retirement, the jockeying for her job has started.
Attorney General Kamala Harris wasted no time declaring her candidacy, presumably after reaching an agreement with fellow San Franciscan (she was San Francisco District Attorney before winning the state job) Gavin Newsom about his ambitions. She announced the day after the Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco Mayor declared he would not be running for the Senate.
California's longest governing governor, Jerry Brown, will be termed out in 2018 after four terms spread over four decades. Newsom will be one of the odds-on choices in that race, although he may have some interesting decisions to make. Senior Senator, Dianne Feinstein, is 81 and will be 85 when her current term is up in 2018. Like Boxer, she was first elected in 1992. Whether Feinstein will run for re-election, particularly if the Republicans continue to hold on to the Senate, is an open question.
Boxer, 74, managed to shed her reputation as "Bouncer" from the bounced check scandal of the House of Representatives' bank during her time in the House, and has been in the Senate 22 years after spending 10 years in the House. Given her mediocre record, Republicans have done a poor job of bringing that to the fore and campaigning effectively against her. She will retire to her home in the California desert.
Given the history and no movement for better than a generation, upwardly mobile Democrats will be taking a hard look at both races as well as the governor's seat.
In addition to Harris, former Los Angeles Mayor and California Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa has indicated an interest. The wild card is San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer who invested tens of millions in races across the country to push his man-made climate change agenda. What's been notable is his lack of success.
What also is notable is two-term Congressman Eric Swalwell of Dublin also floating his name. Swalwell has worked very hard in Congress and his East Bay district and likely can hold the seat for as long as he wants. He has no statewide name recognition, but certainly has earned a reputation for being willing to step out of line and tackle an unpopular incumbent. That doesn't exist in the Senate race for an open seat.
You can appreciate is ambition—at this point, if he gets in and is willing to give up his seat, you wonder about his judgment.