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Rep. Jackie Speier announced Tuesday that she will not run for re-election next year, setting the stage for what could be a crowded field of contenders hoping to represent much of the Peninsula in Congress.

“It’s been a remarkable journey that has surpassed my wildest dreams,” 71-year-old Speier said in a video posted to Twitter. “Today I am announcing that I will not be a candidate in election to Congress in 2022. It’s time for me to come home, time for me to be more than a weekend wife, mother and friend.”

The news comes amid mounting retirements among House Democrats, with many political analysts projecting the party could face steep losses in the 2022 midterm elections, including control of the House of Representatives. At least nine Democrats in the House have said they will retire from their positions rather than seek re-election next year.

Already, David Canepa, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, has said he is considering running for Speier’s seat.

There’s a “strong possibility” he’ll try for the spot, Canepa said during a phone interview Tuesday morning, noting that he’d already gotten “clearance” from his wife.

But the supervisor also acknowledged he could be in for a tough fight.

“I think it’s going to be competitive,” Canepa said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of people who are interested. That’s a good thing.”

Melissa Michelson, a Menlo College political science professor, said “my mind went immediately to Kevin Mullin,” Speaker pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. “He’s hugely popular.”

But, Michelson said, Speier’s departure could create a chance for other women or people of color to run — a sort of “West Coast AOC,” a reference to progressive New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“I wonder if the spirit of the moment means it’s more of an opportunity for somebody who is maybe less experienced and less a part of the Democratic establishment in the area to be a stronger candidate,” she said.

A spokesperson for Mullin, who worked as an aide to Speier, declined to say whether he was interested in the job, saying the focus Tuesday should be on the congresswoman and her legacy.

Other names, from state Sen. Josh Becker to Redwood City council members Giselle Hale and Alicia Aguirre, were already swirling Tuesday.

“We’ve got far more politically ambitious players than we have elected offices for them to hold,” said Darry Sragow, a longtime Democratic strategist in the Golden State.

Hailing Speier and her local contemporaries — people like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, and Palo Alto Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo — for their transformational work, Canepa also said “we’re starting to see a changing of the guards.”

Speier’s decision to step away from Congress has also prompted questions about whether other Bay Area representatives, like Pelosi, Eshoo, and, to the south, Zoe Lofgren, might make a similar calculation — which remains to be seen.

While Speier said she was stepping away in part to focus on family, political analysts say the fact that the House looks likely to flip to GOP control is certain to have played a role in her decision to step away from the Capitol — and will likely factor into others’ thinking, too.

“Anybody who has served in Congress for awhile has seen how more divisive and unpleasant it has become,” Michelson said. “And if you’ve moved in and out of being the minority party, you know it’s fairly unpleasant….it’s always being on the losing side of votes.”

Sragow agreed that there are plenty of reasons to step away, but also, he said, “plenty of reasons,” especially for Pelosi, to stick around — namely helping Biden, who has seen flagging approval ratings, secure his agenda and a second term.

Still, he’s not shocked by Speier’s announcement.

“One of the lessons in life is always leave them wanting more,” he said, “knowing when to hold them and when to fold them, so I’m not surprised. I view her as somebody very clear headed.”

Speier, a Democrat, represents California’s deep blue 14th congressional district, from the southern part of San Francisco to East Palo Alto. The state is in the process of redrawing its congressional maps, but the district map is unlikely to look significantly different.

Speier was first elected to Congress in 2008, and previously served as a San Mateo County supervisor and member of the Assembly and state Senate.

When Speier was working as a staffer for then-Congressman Leo Ryan, she was shot five times during a trip to Jonestown, Guyana, in November 1978 to investigate cult leader Jim Jones. Ryan was killed in the attack.

Speier then ran in 1979’s special election to fill Ryan’s seat but finished third. In 2006, Speier ran in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor of California but lost to insurance commissioner John Garamendi. In April 2008, she won the special election to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos.

Speier has been outspoken about sexual harassment in Congress and revealed that she had been harassed on Capitol Hill as a young staffer. She introduced the Me Too Congress Act, which later served as the basis for the Congressional Accountability Act Reform Act, signed into law in Dec. 2018. The CAA Reform Act makes anti-harassment training mandatory and bars non-disclosure agreements from silencing survivors. Speier has also been a staunch advocate for women’s right to choose, sharing her own abortion story — what she said was a painful decision to end a wanted pregnancy — on the House floor.

Speier also serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She’s the co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, the Congressional Armenian Caucus, the Bipartisan Task Force To End Sexual Violence and the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Speier got her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Davis and her J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law.  She has two children and has been married since 2001 to investment consultant Barry Dennis. Her first husband, Steven Sierra, was killed in a car wreck in 1994, when Speier was pregnant with their second child.

What Speier chooses to do moving forward remains to be seen, but Sragow is skeptical that it will involve another run for office — suggesting she might teach or join a think tank instead.

“I think it’s pretty inconceivable,” he said, “she would want to make another play in the world of politics.”