Capitol Alert

Rep. Xavier Becerra taking ‘close look’ at Senate run

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) addresses the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) addresses the Democratic National Convention in 2008. The Sacramento Bee

Rep. Xavier Becerra said today he is weighing a run for the seat of departing California Sen. Barbara Boxer.

“I'm going to take a very close look at it,” Becerra, a Los Angeles Democrat, told reporters in Washington. “Obviously, I need to have the process move with due speed.”

Becerra’s comments come a day after Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris became the first candidate to enter what could be a crowded and expensive race. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a few other members of Congress also are considering runs.

This wouldn’t be the first contest between Becerra and Villaraigosa. In the 2001 Los Angeles mayoral election, Becerra finished a distant fifth, and Villaraigosa lost to Jim Hahn in the run-off. Villaraigosa won a 2005 rematch.

With the field shaping up, Harris’ fundraising efforts received a boost Wednesday when Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a liberal firebrand and possible presidential candidate, offered early support. In a statement that a accompanied request to help Harris raise $25,000 immediately, Warren described the career prosecutor as smart and tough, and said she wasn’t intimidated by Wall Street banks.

“We need more leaders in Washington who are willing to fight for a level playing field for working families,” Warren said. “Kamala came to Massachusetts to help our campaign in 2012, and I’m doing what I can to make sure Kamala Harris makes it to the United States Senate in 2016.”

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.