Karen Bass says she’ll seek Diane Watson’s congressional seat; Watson backs her


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Confirming speculation about her political plans, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said she would seek the seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Diane Watson, who appeared with Bass at a Los Angeles news conference Wednesday to give the speaker her endorsement.

‘This is a very, very humbling moment,’ Bass told community leaders and supporters who joined her at her Mid-Wilshire-area office. “I am so proud to announce I’m going to throw my hat into the ring.”

If elected, Bass said, she’ll have “very big shoes to fill.”


Watson, who announced last week that she would not run for reelection after 35 years in public office, said she was pleased to back Bass.

“I 100% -- maybe 300% -- endorse Karen Bass,” said Watson, 76, whose Los Angeles-area 33rd Congressional District is among the most diverse in the nation.

The district has long been represented by African Americans, but political observers say it is increasingly important for candidates there to demonstrate that they build broad coalitions. Many believe Bass, 56, an African American who must leave the Assembly this year because of term limits, can build on her ties with labor and her community-organizing background.

Before Watson announced her impending retirement, five other candidates, mostly political unknowns, had taken formal steps to run, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office.

-- Jean Merl