Long Beach, California, mayor to seek open US House seat


LOS ANGELES (AP) — The mayor of Long Beach, California, launched a campaign for a U.S. House seat in Southern California Friday, a day after long-serving Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal announced he would retire at the end of his term.

Mayor Robert Garcia kicked off his run with an video in which he dedicated his campaign to his late mother, who brought him to the U.S. from Peru when he was 5 years old but died during the pandemic.

Garcia, 44, said his mother never doubted that “America was a place where her immigrant son could succeed.”

Lowenthal, 80, announced Thursday he would not seek reelection and intended to spend more time with his family. His decadeslong political career included stops at Long Beach City Hall and the California Legislature.

California’s House delegation is losing prominent faces, while a once-a-decade realignment of congressional district boundaries shifts political dynamics in districts. Those lines will not be finalized until later this month.

California is losing a congressional seat for the first time, dropping to 52 seats from 53 seats, though it will remain the largest House delegation by far.

Among those departing, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who was one of former President Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists in Congress, is leaving the House at the end of this year to join Trump’s fledgling media company. Democratic Rep. Karen Bass is running for mayor of Los Angeles and will not seek re-election. Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier has said she will retire after the end of her term; she represents a San Francisco Bay Area district.

Lowenthal’s departure is likely to set off a fierce competition for the seat, which is expected to retain a Democratic tilt and not play in the coming fight to control Congress.

When elected, Garcia became Long Beach’s first Latino and first openly gay mayor. The diverse city south of Los Angeles, which is home to the huge Port of Long Beach, is home to about 460,000 people.