Possible politicians that could run for Boxer's seat

WASHINGTON (KGO) -- Bay Area politicians are stepping all over themselves in heaping praise on Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California.

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom praised her for having the "courage of her convictions and the unflinching spirit of a true warrior-advocate."

Attorney General Kamala Harris called her "a true progressive champion and a tireless advocate for California's priorities."

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said, "She has stood tall and strong like a redwood tree in the face of powerful Washington interests."

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, said, "I am grateful for her strong leadership."

How many of these politicians are angling for her seat? No one has publicly declared an intention to run for her seat, but that has not stopped the speculation because her decision offers someone a rare opportunity.

The Democrats' rising stars will get a chance to shine on the national stage, if they make a move for Boxer's seat. The senator's decision not to seek re-election will set off a political free for all.

"Open seats, statewide elections are not common in California and certainly a U.S. Senate seat that has not open since 1992. There are folks who have been waiting, patiently waiting for the opportunity to run for that seat," USF political science professor Corey Cook said.

Names in the guessing game on the Democratic side are: Newsom, Harris, State Controller John Chung, Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and wild card hedge fund manager and environmentalist Tom Steyer.

Boxer's good friend, former California congressman George Miller, says her replacement will have big shoes to fill. He said, "Because she's been a major figure, even in these times of turmoil in the congress with the divisiveness, the partisanship. She was able to navigate that on many issues on behalf of our state."

"When I opened up my Facebook and Twitter feed this morning, there was a lot of hallelujah," said California Republican Party vice chair Harmeet Dhillon.

The state's Republican Party which will also mount a run for the plum spot. Names include: Neel Kashkari, who ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Jerry Brown, former U.S. Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice and Congressman Darrell Issa.

"It's an opportunity for change, it's an opportunity when our party is on the upswing after the 2014 elections to possibly introduce some different issues and some different themes into the election," Dhillon said.

And while the speculation whirls about who might duke it out for Boxer's seat, Cook says keep in mind potential candidates could be eyeing other opportunities instead. He told ABC7 News, "The question is how the dominoes fall. What does Feinstein do? What happens to the governor's seat and who is interested in running for what."

So we're in store for a seismic shift in California's political landscape over the next few years.
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