Grace Napolitano’s retirement opens up Los Angeles-area House seat

Three candidates are already running for the seat; one has the outgoing congresswoman’s endorsement — and past support from a local pro-Israel group

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) speaks during a press conference for the Mars Sample Return mission in the Mars Yard at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., on April 11, 2023. -

Longtime Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), the oldest member of the House, announced late last week that she will not seek reelection to Congress in 2024, endorsing a current state senator to fill her seat next year.

The 86-year-old Napolitano has served in the House since 1999, representing a district on the outskirts of Los Angeles. When she announced her retirement, Napolitano gave her endorsement to 78-year-old state Sen. Bob Archuleta, who has served since 2018 after winning, in a bizarre situation, against a candidate preferred by many in state party leadership.

Two other candidates, former Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz and Baldwin Park Planning Commissioner Ricardo Vazques, have also announced their candidacy for the seat. Lutz is also a former Napolitano staffer. Former Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-CA), who served for two terms in a nearby district, is seen as a potential candidate.

Archuleta — a former police officer — is currently facing a sexual harassment lawsuit from a female former employee. He was endorsed in 2022 by Democrats for Israel CA, a local pro-Israel group. Napolitano was endorsed by AIPAC in her last reelection campaign.

“I have known Bob for over 30 years. I endorsed him when he ran for Pico Rivera City Council, where he did a great job, I endorsed him for his current state senator position, where he continues his passion for serving, and now I am proud to endorse him for my congressional seat,” Napolitano said of Archuleta.

Given the district’s heavily Democratic registration — President Joe Biden won by 31 points in 2020 — and California’s top-two primary system, it’s conceivable that two Democrats could ultimately face off in the November general election, although a heavily divided Democratic field could allow a Republican to make it through to the general election.

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