Longtime East Bay congressional Representative Barbara Lee was rendered a lame duck by Tuesday’s election results, but Lee’s preferred successor for her House seat, Lateefah Simon, crushed all rivals in Tuesday's primary.

47-year-old Lateefah Simon was elected to the BART Board of Directors in 2016, and became board President in 2020. That is not normally a springboard to running for United States Congress. But Simon has other compelling biographical notes: She is legally blind and always uses public transit, she's a single mother whose husband died of leukemia, and she worked under then-SF DA Kamala Harris in the mid-2000s.

Simon announced she was running for Barbara Lee’s East Bay House of Representatives seat last year, and on Tuesday, Simon overwhelmingly won the primary election for that seat, according to the Bay Area News Group.  


Admittedly, we’ve only got 27% of the vote counted in that race (the numbers have been slightly updated since the above tweet). But Simon has a prohibitive lead (43.7%) over the next two closest challengers, CSU East Bay professor Jennifer Tran (17%) and Alameda  Vice-Mayor Tony Daysog (14.3%). Media outlets called Simon the winner not long after polls closed Tuesday, and she will face either Tran or Daysog in the November 5 general election. All of the candidates are Democrats.

Rep. Barbara Lee, of course, lost the Senate primary Tuesday night, and California law prevents candidates from running for both House and Senate simultaneously. But Lee did a literal handing-of-the-baton to Simon at a Tuesday campaign event.


"I want to be someone who follows in your footsteps, Miss Lee,” Simon said, in remarks captured by KTVU. “I want to make you proud. I want to make the folks, not only of the California's 12th Congressional District proud, I want to make sure that the Shirley Chisholms, Barbara Lees, the women who are sleeping in their cars right outside, the folks who are cleaning hotels, the folks who are struggling and moving towards a moment where they might see asylum; that they know there is someone who is going to continue in the Congress working for them like you have worked for us."

According to the Bay Area News Group, Simon raised substantially more than all of the other candidates ($1 million), and had the endorsement of Governor Gavin Newsom.

This race is for California's 12th Congressional District, which covers Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Albany, Emeryville, Piedmont, and San Leandro.


Barring some wild unforeseen development, Lateefah Simon will handily win this congressional seat in November. And as seen above, she is quite a rhetorical firebrand. Add in that she’s Muslim and a Black woman, and she will likely be painted as a “Squad” member and made a frequent foil by Republicans. So yes, Lateefah Simon will probably face significant GOP attacks in Congress. But that may elevate her status and bring massive, nationwide ActBlue donations from small donors, which might keep her in that seat for quite some time.

Related: BART Director Lateefah Simon Announces Run For Barbara Lee's Seat In Congress [SFNews]

Image: Lateefah for Congress