EMILY’s List Backs Bass in Race to Replace Watson

Posted February 23, 2010 at 1:53pm

California Speaker Karen Bass (D) has quickly cemented her place as retiring Rep. Diane Watson’s (D-Calif.) heir apparent.

Bass, who confirmed last week that she will run for the Los Angeles-based 33rd district seat, already has the backing of Watson, who promptly endorsed her.

And so far this week, Bass has sewn up the backing of abortion-rights group EMILY’s List as well as senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

In a release sent out Tuesday, EMILY’s List’s President Stephanie Schriock said that while the group is “sorry to see Diane Watson retire, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to support Karen Bass for U.S. Congress.” The release noted that Bass was the “first African American woman to serve as Speaker of any state Assembly and the first Democratic woman to hold this prestigious role in California.”

Watson announced on Feb. 11 she would not run for re-election.

Feinstein lauded Bass on Monday as “an effective coalition builder, both as a community organizer and as a legislative leader.”

Also vying in the Democratic primary are Felton Newell, a prosecutor in the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, and military veteran Mervin Evans. Neither has the credentials, however, to go toe-to-toe with Bass.

Republicans are not expected to compete in the heavily Democratic district.