Sen. Barbara Boxer will not seek re-election in 2016

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Sen. Barbara Boxer announced today that she will not run for another Senate term in 2016. However, she said she is “never going to retire,” and will leave the Senate to work on the issues that she cares about, help her PAC, and help the “Democratic candidate for president make history.”

From the Los Angeles Times:

The senator’s spirited remarks in committee rooms and on the Senate floor are cherished by the left. When the GOP took over Congress in 1994 and set about rolling back environmental laws, Boxer launched into a three-day filibuster in the Senate. She has sparred with arch-conservative Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania over abortion rights. She lobbied aggressively for an Equal Rights Amendment.

From the Washington Post:

Boxer’s retirement sets up what could be an epic, protracted and incredibly expensive Democratic primary to replace her — in a state that hasn’t had an open Senate race since George H.W. Bush was president. Rumored candidates include Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The 74-year-old made the announcement in a video, where she is interviewed by her grandson, ending 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.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, surprised by the news at a press conference, got choked up calling Sen. Boxer one of the most “unselfish politicians I have ever known.”