The veteran lawmaker's openness about her potential exit allowed several Democratic candidates to already begin lining up and raising money for the expected open seat. Assemblyman Jared Huffman and political activist Norman Solomon have formed campaign committees, and each have already raised over $100,000. Assemblyman Mike Thompson, state Sen. Noreen Evans and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams could be other possible Democratic contenders. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., has also stoked speculation he could be pondering a run as well, especially after he moved to Marin County a few weeks ago.
But Woolsey doesn't appear likely to endorse in the race for her successor, noting in her speech that, "I leave it to you, the people of the Sixth District, to decide who should take up the mantle and continue this important work."
In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Woolsey "an eloquent advocate for our troops and for bringing them home safely from war. And she has used her voice to speak for those with no voice - at home and around the world."
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., said in a statement that Woolsey was "a champion for hardworking Americans and for helping lead the fight to ensure fair wages, protect worker's rights to organize, and end workplace discrimination," but added that the seat is "a strong Democratic district and both President Obama and Senator Kerry carried this district by significant margins."
While the district is likely to stay a safe Democratic seat, its boundaries will change dramatically in redistricting. Under the first proposed map from the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission., the revised district cuts out most of Sonoma County and instead extends up to the Oregon border.
In a statement after the maps were released earlier this month, Woolsey blasted the new district, saying it violated its aim of creating compact districts.
"What could be more distant than the expanse from the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border? It's a 375-mile trip. You could barely make the drive in a single day," said Woolsey.