Bowen, a Marina Del Rey Democrat, represented a large portion of of the coastal 36th Congressional District during the 14 years she spent in the state Legislature. She will be termed out of her job as the state elections chief in 2014.
Bowen said in a statement that her record in public office has "proven that I'm principled and that solving problems is much more important to me than party labels."
"I'm proud of the work I've done as Secretary of State and it's a job I truly love," she said. "We've made great strides over the past four years in making our voting systems secure, accurate, reliable, and accessible, while helping businesses get up, running, and hiring people quicker by speeding up the processing of documents companies need to get going in California. However, there are crucial challenges at the national level as well, the first and foremost of which is creating jobs and jump-starting our struggling economy."
Harman, who has represented the area for most of the past two decades, plans to step down soon to become president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, also a Democrat, announced her campaign for the seat last week, locking in endorsements from dozens of local officials, labor groups and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. A handful of Republicans, including Redondo Beach City Attorney Mike Webb and former 53rd Assembly District candidate Nathan Mintz, have said they are considering a run.
Once the seat is vacant, Gov. Jerry Brown will have 14 days to call a special election for the seat. The timing will likely trigger an early June special election.
PHOTO CREDIT: Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen talks at one of the biggest election year gathering of candidates Sunday at a candidates forum at Sac State organized by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.