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Lois Capps to Retire (Video)

Capps will not seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:24 p.m. | California Rep. Lois Capps announced Wednesday she will not run for re-election.  

Capps, 77, has represented the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based 24th District since 1998. The Democrat ran in a special election that year to replace her husband, Walter Capps, who died of a heart attack less than a year into his first term in Congress.  

"Now I believe it is time for me to return home, back to the community and family that I love so much," Capps said in a video. "And so I'm announcing that this 114th Congress will be my last."
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Multiple Democratic operatives say Capps' daughter, Laura Capps, is likely to run for the seat. The younger Capps is a longtime Democratic operative who worked as a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and held stints as communications director for both Secretary of State John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and in the office of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.  

Laura Capps and her husband, Bill Burton, also a Democratic operative, recently moved back to Santa Barbara.  

"This is her mom’s day, and Laura isn’t going to have any announcements to make," Burton told CQ Roll Call. If she runs, she would likely face other Democrats for the seat.  

State Assemblyman Das Williams is mulling a bid, according to numerous Democratic operatives in California. Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider is also a potential Democratic candidate, operatives said, as is Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal. On the Republican side, actor Chris Mitchum, the son of legendary actor Robert Mitchum, is considering a bid. Mitchum ran against Capps in 2014, losing by roughly 4 points, and also lost in the 2012 top-two primary.  

Republican Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian is also considering a bid, according to California operatives.  

Justin Fareed, a cattle rancher who also unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2014, is gearing up to run again in 2016. Fareed came in third, behind Mitchum by fewer than 1,000 votes in the state's top-two primary. Under that system, the two highest vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election.  

The 24th District is Democratic leaning. President Barack Obama carried it by an 11-point margin in 2012.  

Capps' House office announced the congresswoman will spend Thursday and Friday "on a districtwide tour of the Central Coast, meeting and speaking with community members to highlight her legislative priorities for the next two years, which include veterans, small businesses, health care, education, and the environment."  

Capps is the fifth House member to announce retirement without seeking another office this cycle. For a full list of retirements check Roll Call's Casualty List .  

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