Longtime Bay Area Rep. Anna Eshoo announced Tuesday morning that she will not seek another term in Congress, sparking speculation about who will try to succeed her in 2024.
Eshoo, first elected to Congress in 1992, represents one of the most influential regions in the country and announced her retirement Tuesday in a video posted to X, formerly Twitter.
The lawmaker, whose district includes parts of San Jose and Santa Cruz County and extends up the Peninsula to cover the heart of Silicon Valley, said she will serve her last year in office “with vigor and unswerving commitment to you.” The district is home to some of the most prominent tech companies in the world, including Google and Meta.
As the first woman and Democrat elected to represent her district in 1992, Eshoo has seen 66 bills signed into law by five presidents.
Possible contenders to run for Eshoo’s seat include state Assemblymember Evan Low, state Sen. Josh Becker, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and current Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian.
Low currently represents parts of Silicon Valley in the state Legislature, where he chairs the Asian American & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. He’s also a founder and chair of the California Legislative Technology and Innovation Caucus and a former chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus.
Described by the Sacramento Bee as the state’s most prolific lawmaker in 2017, Low was a champion of ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft at the Capitol. He currently has a war chest of $2.4 million for his reelection campaign, but that money could be redirected to a run for Congress.
Low posted a message honoring Eshoo’s time in office but declined comment when contacted by The Standard.
Becker was first elected in 2020, succeeding termed-out Peninsula state Sen. Jerry Hill. He is a former tech entrepreneur and philanthropist, and much of his legislative record deals with tech, energy and climate policy. He sponsored SB 362, the recently passed Delete Act that tightens rules on online data brokers.
Becker, who currently has $321,000 in his reelection campaign account, preferred to laud Eshoo's record rather than talk about future elections.
“Before we hasten to identify her successor, let's collectively pause and celebrate the remarkable years of service that Congresswoman Eshoo has dedicated to our community and nation,” Becker wrote in a statement. "She embodies a blend of warmth, strength, and effectiveness—a unique force in our political landscape."
The deadline for nomination papers for Eshoo’s seat is next month, and both Low and Becker would have to step down from their current positions to run.
Liccardo termed out as mayor of San Jose last January. He currently works for Ground Floor Public Affairs, the San Francisco lobbying firm run by Alex Tourk, the former deputy chief of staff to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Like Becker, Liccardo demurred on campaign plans, preferring to praise Eshoo.
“I’d prefer that we take this time to honor Congresswoman Eshoo for her exceptional service and leadership,” Liccardo said when reached for comment on whether he's considering a run. “There will be plenty of time to talk about my next steps after I consult with my wife and family, but regardless of whether I run, I want to ensure that Silicon Valley has a champion in Washington ready to tackle our most critical issues, like homelessness, crime, housing affordability, and innovation.”
Simitian is currently a Santa Clara County supervisor, having served as a state senator from 2000 to 2012. While in Sacramento, he was one of a few Democrats to oppose the state’s High-Speed Rail program. Simitian had $68,000 in leftover campaign funds as of June 30, and also has a federally registered committee, "Friends of Simitian," which has $681,000 in cash on hand as of Sep. 30.
"It’s already a matter of public record that if Anna were not going to run again, I would raise my hand to run,” Simitian told The Standard, “but at this time, I think it best to thank her for her remarkable public service career.” Simitian went on to say that he would have a further announcement early next week.
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