Former L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel says she will run to succeed Congressman Henry Waxman, who Thursday morning announced he will retire at the end of his current 20th term in Congress.
Waxman's surprise announcement set off a flurry of speculation over who might jump into the race. Last year, Greuel lost her bid for L.A. mayor race to Eric Garcetti last year, but she raised about $7 million for that race and she maintains a solid base of support.
"What I knew instantly in my gut is that I wanted to serve the people of the 33rd district and to be able to go to Congress and fight for the families here and the residents of these communities," Greuel told KPCC. "And so I've made the decision in a quick manner today to run for Congress."
Greuel, 52, heard Waxman's news on the radio. She said her phone was "going nuts" with calls, emails and texts telling her she should run.
Greuel also tweeted about running in the district:
Before Greuel's announcement, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Matt Inzeo predicted the contest to succeed Waxman will be a long ballot and an expensive race. "There's 40 years of pent-up ambition," he said, "and all the money in the world."
In his statement, Waxman said he would prefer a successor "who is young enough to make the long-term commitment that’s required for real legislative success."
L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who is termed out from his county seat this year, told KPCC's Larry Mantle that he hasn't had time to think about running for Waxman's seat.
State Senator Ted Lieu of Torrance is considering a run. Lieu, whose senate district includes more than 80 percent of Waxman’s, said he will announce his intentions on Friday.
State Assemblyman and former Santa Monica mayor Richard Bloom also said Thursday that he is considering a run for Waxman's seat.
Another name that surfaced is attorney and women's rights activist Sandra Fluke. "I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate," she told KPCC. "A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running."
Fluke, 32, became known in 2012 when — as a Georgetown University law student — she testified on Capitol Hill that insurers should provide no-cost contraception. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh later called her a "slut" and a "prostitute" on air, triggering a media firestorm. Fluke, who grew up in Pennsylvania, has only lived in L.A. since finishing law school.
New Age author and self-help spiritual guru Marianne Williamson had previously announced her run for Waxman's seat as an independent. Also in the race is Brent Roske, producer of the web series "Chasing the Hill," which is about a fictional candidate from California running for Congress. Roske is running as an independent.
Two other names that came up in speculation were former state legislator Sheila Kuehl and former Santa Monica city councilman and mayor Bobby Shriver, who are running for Yaroslavsky's county supervisor seat. But both candidates said Thursday morning that they are sticking with their plans.
When she ran for mayor, Greuel was endorsed by several current members of Congress from Southern California, including Brad Sherman, Maxine Waters, Linda Sanchez and Tony Cardenas. She also had the support of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Westside congressman Howard Berman.
Greuel does not live in Waxman's district, but that's not a requirement for members of Congress. Nevertheless, Greuel said she'd move from the San Fernando Valley into the Westside district.