SAN DIEGO — Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis announced in a letter to constituents Wednesday that she will not seek re-election next year. In the letter, Davis said that this will be her final term representing the 53rd Congressional District which includes portions of Chula Vista, El Cajon and San Diego along with several East County suburbs.
In her announcement, Davis said that she "struggled to make this very difficult decision." She has held the 53rd District seat since 2003 and entered Congress in 2001, winning the race for the 49th District before it was redrawn following the 2000 census.
"The opportunity to serve and contribute has been everything I could have ever imagined," Davis said in the email. "I grew up in a pediatrician's family and watched my father making a difference in people's lives. I wanted to do that as well."
Davis currently sits on the House committees on Armed Services, Education and Labor, and House Administration. She is also the dean of the San Diego congressional delegation and the only woman currently representing a district of San Diego County.
Davis' announcement could have ramifications for other local, state and federal races around the county, should an already campaigning candidate jump into the race to succeed her. Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, is a former staffer in Davis' office and has long been rumored to be interested in the seat but is currently running for mayor of San Diego.
Gloria wrote in a Twitter post that Davis has agreed to volunteer for his campaign, calling her "an incredible advocate" for SanDiego.
"Her steady hand in Congress for the last 20 years has been a blessing to our nation," he wrote. "As my lifelong mentor, I can't wait to have her home full time."
Small business owner Juan Caballero and community advocate Joaquin Vazquez, both Democrats, are already running for the seat. The Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index rates the district as a lock for Democrats; former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the district by 35 points in the 2016 election.
Davis, 75, said she does not yet know what she plans to do after leaving office but indicated she has multiple options to continue serving San Diego residents.
"I am grateful to have you as engaged and concerned citizens of our great nation and the San Diego community we love," Davis said. "I know you will pick your next representative wisely. That person will also represent me, so I will look to those who put this noble pursuit of public interest above self-interest. I sincerely hope that has been a mark of my service."
"I do not know what I will do next but I know there are many ways to serve our community."