Longtime East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee is vacating her seat in the House of Representatives to run for Dianne Feinstein's former Senate seat, and nine candidates are running to replace her.

Most of the candidates are relative political newcomers, except for one: BART director Lateefah Simon, as we previously covered. Simon already has Governor Gavin Newsom’s backing and just snagged the Chronicle Editorial Board’s endorsement on Thursday. The board called the 47-year-old politician-slash-activist the “best” and “obvious” choice for California’s 12th Congressional District, home to over 750,000 people across Alameda County.

Simon, a registered Democrat, is facing six other Democrats and two Republicans. The Chronicle noted that the two other most impressive candidates are vice-mayor of Alameda Tony Daysog (D), who’s also served on the Alameda City Council for about 20 years; and CSU East Bay professor Jennifer Tran (D), who teaches ethnic studies and also serves as the president of the Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce.

The rest include bar owner and teacher Glenn Kaplan (D); nonprofit worker Eric Wilson (D); SF State computer science lecturer Abdur Sikder (D); former U.S. Navy officer Andre Todd (D); electrical engineer Stephen Slauson (R); and retired driving instructor Ned Nuerge (R), per the Mercury News.

But Simon stood above the candidates with a “deep personal and professional understanding of government systems,” according to the Chronicle board, as well as her long history of public service and advocacy. And she’s taken on divisive issues that will surely persist in the district already as BART director, such as supporting both BART police raises and alternative policing programs for the transit system. She also has platforms for solutions for homelessness and anti-recidivism, although she hasn't gotten into many specifics yet.

Per Ballotpedia, the primary among all candidates will take place on March 5, 2024, to determine which two candidates will run in the general election on November 5, 2024.

Lee, one of the most progressive members of Congress who's served 26 years in the House, will no doubt leave a lasting legacy in her former district — which spans Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville, San Leandro, Albany and Piedmont. But her race for Dianne Feinstein’s now-open Senate seat is heating up too: There’s tough competition against Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter.

The latest poll from researchers at USC, CSU Long Beach and Cal Poly Pomona shows Schiff with a commanding lead, winning support from 25 percent of registered voters, with Lee trailing the other main candidates, with just 7 percent. That race on March 5 is likely to be about the fight for second place between Porter and Republican Steve Garvey.

Previously: BART Director Lateefah Simon Announces Run For Barbara Lee's Seat In Congress

Feature image of Barbara Lee via Kimberly White/Getty Images for Demand Justice.