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Rep. George Miller's retirement could set off musical chairs

Politics and GovernmentElectionsGeorge Miller IIIU.S. CongressHolly J. MitchellMark DeSaulnierBarack Obama

The decision of Rep. George Miller to retire when his term ends could affect the political dynamic in the state Capitol.

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) said Monday he will run for Miller’s 11th Congressional District seat. If he wins, that is likely to trigger Assembly members from the area to run for his state Senate seat, including Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord).

“I’m running for Congress to help bring an end to the brinkmanship and gridlock in Washington," DeSaulnier said, "so that we can move forward with President Obama’s agenda of creating more good paying jobs, growing our middle class, investing in our infrastructure, increasing access to healthcare, advancing the use of renewable and homegrown energy, enhancing our education systems, and making the United States a leader in innovation around the globe.”

DeSaulnier had also been the biggest competitor to Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) in a contest to become the next leader of the state Senate when Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) leaves office at the end of this year.

DeSaulnier said Monday that he will not be competing for the pro tem job because running for congress will keep him busy and he is not sure people would vote for him for pro tem if he is going to leave the Senate this year.

"I'm going to focus on that" congressional run, he said.

De Leon declined Monday to comment on how a DeSaulnier run for Congress might affect the contest for pro tem. He said the focus Monday should be on the accomplishments of the outgoing congressman.

“This is George Miller’s day,” De Leon said. “I have yet to speak with Sen. DeSaulnier, but I look forward to speaking to him soon.”

Others viewed as potential contenders for the pro tem job include state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), who is running for state Senate this year.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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