Susan Packer Davis, chairwoman of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, has announced plans to run for Tom Hayden's 44th Assembly District seat, if he vacates the post.
Calling herself a "proven fighter," Davis, 37, made the announcement last week in a press conference at the Santa Monica City Hall.
She said she was forming a committee to explore seeking the Democratic nomination for the post and would immediately begin efforts to raise $250,000--the amount she estimated she would need for the race.
Hayden has not publicly announced any plans to relinquish his seat in the Legislature, but he is widely regarded as a likely candidate next year for the newly created post of state insurance commissioner.
Won't Oppose Hayden
If Hayden decides instead to seek reelection to the Assembly, Davis said she will withdraw her candidacy.
The 44th Assembly District includes Santa Monica, Malibu and parts of West Los Angeles. It is generally liberal, affluent and heavily Democratic in voter registration.
Davis, an administrator at Concord High School, a private school in Westwood, has a reputation as one of the most hard-line members of the Rent Control Board. She frequently lobbies the state Legislature on rent control issues.
She is a member of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights, the city's dominant political faction, but failed last year to obtain the group's endorsement as a candidate for City Council.
It is not known at this point whether Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights will support Davis' bid for the Assembly seat. She plans to appeal to her tenant constituency, but it remains unclear where her main financial support will come from.
Acknowledging that her candidacy will be seen as a long shot, Davis said she believes district voters want a strong-willed activist to represent them.
"I feel I can bring to the Assembly a voice this community needs so it will not get pushed around," Davis said.
"I will give us a voice that is strong (and) effective. . . . I don't waffle on issues. I speak out, and I think people want that."
She pledged to "stand up to big, special interests" that have too often curried favor with the state Legislature.