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Posted at 11:11 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2014
Updated 1:20 p.m. | Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., announced Thursday that he will not seek a 21st term in his Los Angeles-based House seat.
“It’s time for someone else to have the chance to make his or her mark, ideally someone who is young enough to make the long-term commitment that’s required for real legislative success,” he said. “I still feel youthful and energetic, but I recognize if I want to experience a life outside of Congress, I need to start soon.”
Waxman is now the 17th member of the House and 7th Democrat to announce retirement this cycle. He and fellow California Democratic Rep. George Miller, who is also retiring this year, were the last remaining of the Watergate class of 1974 serving their 20th terms in the House. (One other member of the class of 1974 would remain in the House, Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., but he spent a couple of decades out of Congress in the interim).
Waxman’s 33rd District is a heavily Democratic seat.In 2012, President Barack Obama won here in by a 24-point margin.
But with the state’s top-two primary system, where the top-two vote recipients advance to the general, Democratic strategists are worried about the possibility that two Republicans advance to the general election. A similar situation took place in 2012 in the nearby 31st District, a top pickup opportunity for Democrats.
“There’s a real possibility that if there are two Republicans and eight or nine Democrats, it’s not impossible to have a similar situation like the 31st,” said Democratic strategist Achim Bergmann.
Democratic strategists also say there is a laundry list of Democrats who could run here, many with the ability to self-fund.
Last cycle, independent businessman Bill Bloomfield spent millions of his own money and held Waxman to just an 8-point win.
Early names Democratic operatives mentioned include:
Based in Los Angeles County, Waxman’s district includes the wealthy towns of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, plus the beach towns in south L.A., meaning some famous names could also announce bids for the seat.
Candidates have until March 7 to file the necessary paperwork to run. The top-two primary will take place June 3.
To see a full list of retirements this cycle, check out CQ Roll Call’s Casualty List.