Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: Villaraigosa, a former speaker of the state Assembly, had a high-profile role as chairman of the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
Former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg: Following a successful 14-year run in the state Legislature, Steinberg is looking for a re-entry into political office. Though well-respected, the Sacramentan’s influence may be confined to the Capitol bubble.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom: Newsom has the portfolio to compete for Boxer’s seat. But the former San Francisco mayor, who rose to prominence after legalizing gay marriage in the city in 2004, is viewed as more likely to run for governor in 2018.
Paul Kitagaki Jr.
Rep. Ed Royce: One of California’s most established Republican politicians, Royce would have to give up a safe House seat in Orange County and a powerful chairmanship in Congress’ new majority.
Former gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari: The former U.S. Treasury official and political newcomer touted his economic credentials during a massive loss to Gov. Jerry Brown in November.
Attorney General Kamala Harris: Another leading contender, Harris has recently been making the rounds in Washington and building her national profile, perhaps indicating a greater interest in the U.S. Senate than a potential gubernatorial run. She could benefit from an expected Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016.
Treasurer John Chiang: After nearly two decades in statewide politics, Chiang could have enough name recognition to make a run at Boxer’s seat. He is also one of the most visible Asian Americans in a state where the rapidly growing population segment is increasingly flexing its political power.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León: One of the most prominent Latinos in California politics, de León has only recently begun to lead the Senate.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: The former Assembly Speaker has a huge political base, and changing demographics could benefit a Latino candidate. But Villaraigosa has said he enjoys being a chief executive, suggesting he may hold off until the governorship opens up.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin: Swearengin inspired immediate buzz when she announced her ultimately unsuccessful bid for state controller last year. She has yet to demonstrate she can raise real money, though.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: A dream candidate for California Republicans, who have been wanting her to run for something – anything – for years.
Former U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina: The former Hewlett-Packard CEO suffered a bruising loss to Boxer in 2010, for which she still owes money. Recently, Fiorina has been floating her name for a possible presidential run in 2016 instead.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer: As mayor of the second-biggest city in California, Faulconer has a platform but no statewide profile. He would also have to weigh his run against a mayoral re-election bid in 2016.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones: Like Chiang, Jones was just re-elected in 2014 and would have a free ride at a long-shot bid for Boxer’s seat. His career has shown he’s not afraid to take up liberal causes.
Former Rep. Doug Ose: Though coming off a narrow loss to Rep. Ami Bera in 2014’s most expensive House race, businessman Ose has shown previous interest in running for the Senate.
Climate change activist Tom Steyer: The billionaire hedge fund manager spent $74 million, mostly unsuccessfully, trying to elect more environmentally friendly candidates in 2014. Will Steyer finally make his own run for office? He can afford it.