Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard won’t run in 2022, avoiding potential head-to-head battle with Mayor Robert Garcia

Longtime Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1993, reversed course Monday and announced she would not seek reelection in 2022, clearing a significant potential competitor Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

Garcia announced his run for Congress Friday, one day after Long Beach Congressman Alan Lowenthal, 80, said he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2022. A representative from Roybal-Allard’s office told the Post on Thursday that the 80-year-old intended to run for office again in 2022, but her office sent a statement that she would not.

“Over my many years of public service, I have always strived to do that which is best to help improve my community and my country,” Roybal-Allard said in a statement.  “After thirty years in the House of Representatives, the time has come for me to spend more time with my family. Therefore, I have decided not to seek reelection.”

While the final Congressional lines have yet to be adopted by the California statewide redistricting commission, it appears that Roybal-Allard’s district will be combined with the new Long Beach district, which could have put Garcia and Roybal-Allard in a head-to-head campaign.

The new proposed Long Beach congressional district (left) compared to the current 47th Congressional District (right).

The shift in Congressional lines was prompted by California losing a seat for the first time in its history, something blamed on a potentially historic undercount during the 2020 Census.

Roybal-Allard had been identified as one of the more vulnerable incumbents by national outlets because of her low cash-on-hand balance ($74,371) heading into an election year and because her Downey Congressional district was one of a handful that was being combined with another incumbents’ district.

Garcia had been laying the groundwork for a campaign for some time and released a slew of endorsements the day he announced including California Attorney General Rob Bona, State Senate Pro Team Toni Atkins and a host of other local elected officials from Long Beach.

Roybal-Allard’s exit from the race leaves Garcia as the biggest name in the 2022 field, with the filing period ending in March. The new district boundaries drop the Orange County cities of Westminster and pushed the district north, gaining cities like Downey, Bellflower and Huntington Park.

The resulting demographic shift could see the new Congressional district swing from a Latino voting-age percentage of 29.6% to 52%, with Garcia as the lone Latino left in the race as of Monday.

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.