Longtime Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced his retirement from office on Thursday, with Sandra Fluke — the former law student who became an early symbol of Republicans’ “war on women” — seemingly in the mix of possible contenders to succeed him.
The Washington Post reported that Waxman announced the move in a 3 1/2-page statement calling for “someone else to have the chance to make his or her mark” and denouncing the rise of Tea Party conservatism in Congress.
“I abhor the extremism of the tea party,” Waxman wrote. “I am embarrassed that the greatest legislative body in the world too often operates in a partisan intellectual vacuum, denying science, refusing to listen to experts, and ignoring facts.”
Fluke, whose congressional testimony on behalf of reproductive rights led to her being called a “slut” by right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, became an activist on behalf of the same cause and spoke in support of President Barack Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She confirmed on Thursday that she has been approached about running to fill Waxman’s seat representing California’s 33rd congressional district.
“I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate,” she told KPCC-FM. “A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running.”
Waxman was first elected in 1974, as he transitioned from the state assembly to succeed Rep. Chet Holifield (D-CA) following Holifield’s own retirement. A spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Matt Inzeo, told KPCC that his group is still deliberating who should represent the party in the upcoming race to replace Waxman.
“There’s 40 years of pent-up ambition,” Inzeo was quoted as saying. “And all the money in the world.”
[Image via MSNBC]