Jackie Speier is weighing a run for the state’s attorney general post, sources close to the congresswoman confirmed yesterday and several state lawmakers have already expressed interest in filling her seat in Washington if she makes the move.
State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco/Daly City, told the Daily Journal yesterday she would "probably” run for the District 12 House of Representatives seat if Speier decides to run for state attorney general.
State Sen. Leland Yee’s office confirmed yesterday that he too would consider running for the seat if Speier decides to abandon Washington and state Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, has even had his eye on the seat for more than 15 years now.
"It has always been appealing to me,” Hill said. "But I don’t know what Jackie is going to do. I want to hear what Jackie does first and I support her in whatever she does.”
Yee’s focus is on getting re-elected to his state Senate seat, spokesman Adam Keigwin said.
"Nobody knows what Speier is going to do,” Keigwin said. "Yee will look at the seat after Speier makes her indications clear.”
Filing deadlines are coming soon for some of these seats. The primary for the attorney general spot is in June and the deadline to file for that seat is March 12.
Speier, D-San Mateo, has filled Tom Lantos’ old seat in Congress for almost two years now but is intrigued in coming back to the state where she served as a senator and assemblywoman for 18 years, said Speier consultant Nathan Ballard.
"She loves her current job. She is proud to serve but many have approached her over time about coming back to the state. She is very well known and it’s sensible for her to consider it,” Ballard said.
A new poll of 450 likely Democrat and independent voters by J. Moore Methods show her with a more than 4-1 lead over her closest competitor, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.
There are currently six confirmed candidates for the seat including Harris; Rocky Degadillo, Pedro Nava, Alberto Torrico, Chris Kelly and Ted Lieu.
Speier, however, polls far better than all of these candidates in the J. Moore Methods survey in every category but one.
In the poll, more people had a favorable opinion of Speier and more people indicated they would likely support her candidacy in every demographic surveyed, including men, women, under 40, over 60, in Southern Californian and Northern California.
Only Rocky Degadillo beat Speier in any category in the survey, that of residents of Los Angeles where Degadillo was former city attorney.
Harris has already raised $2 million for the seat Jerry Brown currently holds. Brown is the likely Democratic frontrunner for the governor’s seat.
"Coming back and taking a strong leadership role in a state with 37 million people is an attractive opportunity for her,” Speier consultant Alex Tourk said. "Congress takes her cross country far from her daughter who is a freshman in high school.”
Sacramento would be far less of a commute for Speier than being in Washington, D.C.
Speier won a special House election in April 2008 after the death of Lantos, who held the same seat for 26 years. Speier easily won a full term in November 2008.
The attorney general is the state’s top law enforcement officer and also protects residents against fraud. Speier is known for her strong consumer protection policies over her two-decade career.
Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, did not score very high in the J. Moore Methods survey, but has garnered support locally from San Mateo Councilman David Lim.
Lim will host a meet and greet with Lieu Feb. 17.
Lim backs Lieu because of his background as a prosecutor and for his consumer protection policies.
"He’s got the whole package. He has practical prosecution experience and has proven to advocate for consumers,” Lim said.
Bill Silverfarb can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.