Almost 24 years have passed since California had an open U.S. Senate seat.
But that’s about to change with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., announcing that she won’t seek a fifth term in 2016, which will produce a mad — and likely competitive and expensive — scramble to replace her.
High-profile California Democrats like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Attorney General Kamala Harris and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have had to bide their time with Sens. Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as Gov. Jerry Brown, occupying the top three statewide offices.
So now’s their chance.
And if you include current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, there are as many as four well-known Democrats who might have their eyes on Boxer’s seat, potentially setting up a titantic and expensive race to succeed her. There’s also the possibility that a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or Hollywood star (remember Arnold Schwarzenegger) is interested in running.
Worth noting: California has a top-two primary system — regardless of party — so it’s possible that two Democrats clash in the 2016 general election. Or one Democrat and one Republican. Or even two Republicans (though that’s very, very unlikely in this blue state).
Also worth noting: It’s likely that the other two plum offices open up in 2018, when Feinstein’s and Brown’s terms expire.
So California once again will be a fascinating state to watch over the next three years.