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Barbara Boxer to Retire (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

California Sen. Barbara Boxer announced Thursday she will not run for re-election in 2016, opening up an attractive seat for ambitious fellow Democrats.  

Boxer made the announcement in a video posted to her campaign website, in which she conducted a mock interview with her grandson Zach. "I am never going to retire. The work is too important. But I will not be running for the Senate in 2016," she said.  

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Boxer's decision not to seek re-election means California will have an open Senate seat for the first time in more than two decades.  

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris are potential Democratic candidates for the seat. On the Republican side, the bench is much more spare as the state as grown far more difficult for the party in statewide elections.  

Boxer said she will remain involved in politics.  

"I will continue working on the issues I love, I'll have more time to help other people through my PAC for Change community. I have to make sure this Senate seat stays progressive, that is so critical. And I want to help our Democratic candidate for president make history. But you know what, I want to come home. I want to come home to the state I love so much, California.  

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Californian, learned of the news at her Thursday morning news conference. Pelosi stood in silence, collected herself and praised Boxer as "one of the most unselfish politicians I have ever known."

 "She called me and said she wanted to talk to me personally," Pelosi said. "I just thought she wanted to have dinner tonight."

Matt Fuller contributed to this report. [field name=iframe3]  

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