Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps (D) on Wednesday announced she will not seek reelection in 2016, clearing the path for a potentially crowded Democratic primary to succeed her in California's 24th district, which she has represented for nearly two decades.
"I’ve been so humbled and honored that you would trust me to be your representative to Congress. But now I think it is time for me to return home, back to the community and family that I love so much," Capps said in a video announcement. "And so I'm announcing that this 114th Congress will be my last, and at the completion of this term I will retire."
Capps first took office in 1998, succeeding her husband, Rep. Walter Capps, after he passed away less than one year into his term.
And there's a possibility the seat may stay in the family: Capps' daughter is Laura Burton Capps, a well-known Democratic political operative who is widely expected to make a competitive bid for the seat. Burton Capps -- who is married to Bill Burton, a former aide to President Obama -- has not publicly commented on her future plans but has been very active in the district. She and her husband relocated to Santa Barbara two years ago.
Capps' announcement also creates an enticing opening for potential Republican candidates. The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday indicated it could become a target for the GOP.
“The 24th District has been competitive for multiple cycles and instantly becomes a more likely pick up opportunity for Republicans in 2016 with Lois Capps’ retirement," said NRCC spokesperson Zach Hunter.