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Sen. Barbara Boxer Won't Run For Reelection, Setting California Up For A Big Political Battle

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Longtime US Senator Barbara Boxer announced today that she will not be running for the seat that she has held since 1992 for the 2016 election. That sets the stage for a big, likely expensive political battle among California Democrats, who haven't had a shot at a senate seat since Boxer was elected (Sen. Dianne Feinstein was elected the same year).

Boxer made her announcement in a video in which her grandson plays the role of a reporter grilling her about her future. Boxer says that it wasn't Washington gridlock that prompted her decision nor was the fact she's 74 a consideration: "Some people are old at 40, and some people are young at 80. ... As for me, I feel as young as I did when I was elected. I was in my 50s when I was elected to the Senate."

She says that she's not retiring from public life but she does want to come home (though she made her career in the Bay Area, she lives in Rancho Mirage). She said she's committed to fighting for her PAC for A Change and making sure her senate seat stays progressive. She adds, "I want to come home."

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She concluded with a rhyme:

"The Senate is the place where I've always made my case For families, for the planet, and the human race.

More than 20 years in a job I love

Thanks to California and the Lord above.

So although I won't be working for my Senate space,

and I won't be running in that next tough race,

as long as there are issues and challenges and strife

I will never retire, 'cause that's the meaning of my life."

There were rumors swirling about Boxer's plan to not run for reelection and the impending fight to replace her. The Washington Post notes that her approval numbers had dropped down to 41 percent and her fundraising numbers were low, hinting that she wasn't planning to run again for 2016. Some of the names being batted around for office include Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), climate activist Tom Steyer, and our very own Mayor Eric Garcetti, who quickly took to Twitter to deny that he had set his sights on the seat.

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Even though the move was expected, the timing did catch Nancy Pelosi off-guard.

Pelosi said she had just received a call beforehand from Boxer asking to speak to her personally: "I thought she wanted to have dinner tonight."