Barbara Boxer’s Retirement to Set Off Democratic Scramble to Replace Her in US Senate

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Sen. Barbara Boxer speaks at the unveiling of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan at the AES mountain view wind farm in the San Gorgonio Pass in Palm Springs on Sept. 23, 2014. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s announcement Thursday that she would not seek reelection in 2016 is expected to set off a scramble among California Democrats who have been waiting more than two decades for a Senate seat to open.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand among Democratic officeholders for opportunities to advance their careers,” said Parke Skelton, a top California Democratic campaign strategist. “This is like a keystone coming out of the bridge.”

Focus immediately turned to Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.

Harris and Newsom have statewide profiles and Bay Area support. Villaraigosa, a former Assembly speaker, has name recognition in the state’s largest media market. Steyer has wealth.

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