Several others are regarded as potential contenders for a highly
coveted and safely Democratic seat in a campaign that political
experts predict will be congested, competitive and very costly.
"It's going to be a cast of thousands," said Garry South, a longtime
California Democratic strategist, noting that while the district has
been reconfigured several times, Waxman held the seat for 40 years
before retiring at age 74, and that Congress has no term limits.
"So if a Democrat wins, and a Democrat will surely win, that person
can probably stay there for a lifetime if they mind their Ps and
Qs," he said.
Ted Lieu, whose state Senate district covers more than 80 percent of
the 33rd California congressional district represented by Waxman and
who touts his humble roots as a Taiwanese immigrant, announced his
candidacy on Friday.
Ex-controller Wendy Greuel, who also served as a Los Angeles City
Council member and finished second in last year's mayoral race,
declared her intention to run on Monday, not long after Waxman
revealed he was stepping down at year's end after 40 years in
Lieu and Greuel will face off on June 3 under California's
open-primary system, in which candidates of all political
affiliations compete on a single ballot. The top two vote-getters
advance to the general election run-off in November.
They join two lesser-known candidates who announced they were
running for Waxman's seat as independents before he said he would
retire — television producer Brent Roske and self-help author
Others may still enter the race. One well-known local Democrat seen
as a possible contender is veteran Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev
Yaroslavsy, a longtime political ally of Waxman who is being forced
to resign his post in December by terms limits after a 20-year
His chief of staff, Joel Bellman, said his boss has not had a chance
to consider yet whether to seek Waxman's seat.
NO FRONT-RUNNER YET
Democratic State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a former Santa Monica
city councilman and mayor whose district is mostly nestled inside
the Waxman's district, said he is "giving serious thought" to
joining the race.
Yet another potential candidate is wealthy businessman Bill
Bloomfield, who mounted an unsuccessful independent bid against
Waxman in 2012, emerging as runner-up in a primary field of seven
challengers and garnering 46 percent of the vote in the general
election. He spent more than $7 million of his own money in the
A decision by Bloomfield, a former Republican, to run again would
likely drive up the financial stakes in the race overall.
[to top of second column]
But South gave Bloomfield little if any chance of prevailing over a
Democrat in a head-to-head matchup for Waxman's seat in the general
Waxman's district is regarded a one of the most liberal and affluent
in the country, encompassing much of the wealthy west side of Los
Angeles, as well as Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and other beach
front communities. President Barack Obama carried the district with
nearly 61 percent of the vote in 2012.
South said it was way too soon to handicap possible front-runners in
Lieu, 44, seemed to stand a strong chance given that his state
Senate district and the 33rd congressional district in California so
closely align geographically.
A U.S. Air Force veteran who served as a military prosecutor, Lieu
served in the California Assembly before he was elected to the state
Senate in 2011 and he boasted early endorsements of 25 other elected
He recently gained attention as the author of legislation, signed
into law expanding the state's existing shield law for journalists
and banning controversial "gay conversion" therapies aimed at
reversing homosexuality in children.
An immigrant of Taiwan whose parents came to the United States when
he was 3, Lieu said a priority for him in Congress would be to press
for passage of immigration reform.
He said he was starting the race with $760,000 in surplus
contributions from his last state Senate race, much of which he
hoped donors would be willing to redirect to his new campaign.
But a spokesman for Greuel, 52, acknowledged that she still faced a
large debt from her failed mayoral bid but noted that she raised
$7.2 million in that campaign.
"This isn't about having $700,000 in the bank. It's about having a
$7 million fund-raising network," Sean Clegg told Reuters. Much of
her support came from organized labor.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; editing by Dan Whitcomb and Ken Wills)
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