Heir apparent? Lateefah Simon launches bid for Barbara Lee House seat

POLITICAL PULSE: BART board member Lateefah Simon today launched her campaign for California’s 12th District congressional seat, currently held by Barbara Lee. Lee announced a run for U.S. Senate earlier this month.

The Bay Area district, which Lee won with 87% of the vote in 2022, covers Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

Simon, who cites Lee as a mentor, quickly locked up a slate of endorsements from high profile Progressive Democrats, including Attorney General Rob Bonta, Asm. Buffy Wicks, and Sen. Nancy Skinner.

Simon has a fascinating resume: She began advocacy work at 16 with the Young Women’s Freedom Center. At 18, she became a single mother, which served to redouble her commitment to the YWFC. At 26 she was the youngest woman ever to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Following the death of Oscar Grant, she ran for and won a seat on the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors. Simon, who was born legally blind, has relied on public transportation her entire life.

Unlike the crowded race to replace retiring Senator Dianne Feinstein, Simon is – so far – the only notable candidate to announce for CA-12. Her campaign team, Ace Smith’s Bearstar Strategies, is likely working to keep it that way. We’ll see.


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