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Kamala Harris to Run for Open California Senate Seat

Harris speaks onstage during Children's Defense Fund - California Hosts 24th Annual Beat The Odds Awards in Culver City on Dec. 4. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images File Photo)

Kamala Harris, the first woman to serve as attorney general of California, will run for the Senate seat being vacated in 2016 by retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to The Associated Press .  

Harris will make the announcement Tuesday, five days after Boxer announced her retirement , and one day after fellow Democrat Gavin Newsom, the Golden State's lieutenant governor, passed on the contest . Harris and Newsom run in the same political circles in the state, and many California Democratic operatives speculated there was not room for both in the contest.  

Harris is the first high-profile Democrat to officially announce a bid.  

Two others are mulling an entrance into the race.  

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Saturday he is exploring a bid.  

"The urgency of the needs of the people of this great state have convinced me to seriously consider looking at running for California's open Senate seat," Villaraigosa said in a statement.  

Billionaire hedge fund manager and environmentalist Tom Steyer also is weighing a bid, according to multiple California Democratic operatives. Steyer could use his considerable wealth to self fund a campaign in the state — one of the most expensive in the country to run statewide.  

A number of Democrats in the state's House delegation also are being floated as possible candidates. They include Reps. John Garamendi, Raul Ruiz, Loretta Sanchez, Eric Swalwell and Xavier Becerra.  

Republican operatives in California say there are no high-profile GOP names being floated for the contest. A Republican victory in deep blue California is nearly impossible, especially in 2016, when operatives expect a strong Democratic turnout thanks to the presidential race topping the ticket.  

California's open Senate race is rated a Safe Democratic contest by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.  

   

Related: Gavin Newsom Won’t Seek California Senate Seat First Senate Race Ratings Revealed Barbara Boxer to Retire The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.