Alan Lowenthal retiring from blue California House seat after long career in Long Beach politics

Lowenthal responded to the altercation by successfully convincing the Long Beach City Council to put a measure on the ballot to create a Citizens Police Complaint Commission, but he didn’t forget that his own councilman had refused to even talk to him about the effort. He responded by unseating that city councilman in 1992, and he won a 1998 race for the state Assembly 50-47 in what turned out to be the last close race of his career.

Lowenthal, who made a name for himself for working to reduce air pollution at ports, won a promotion in 2004 to the state Senate without any serious opposition. In 2008 his ex-wife, Bonnie Lowenthal, also won a seat in the Assembly, which made them the first divorced couple to serve together in the California legislature. (Their marriage ended before either of them was active in politics.) 

Alan Lowenthal formed an exploratory committee for a potential 2010 run for lieutenant governor but decided not to go through with it, but he got his chance to seek higher office in 2012 after the new congressional map created an open Long Beach-based seat. Lowenthal faced no serious intra-party opposition, but Republicans hoped that Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong, who campaigned as a moderate, would have an opening in a district that Barack Obama had carried 58-39 in 2008. DeLong actually outspent Lowenthal, but the Democrat decisively won 57-43 as Obama was prevailing 60-37. 

Lowenthal has had no trouble winning reelection, but other members of his current and former family, who were once compared to the Kennedys, have had mixed success at the ballot box. One of his sons, Daniel Lowenthal, was elected in 2006 to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, while the other, Josh Lowenthal, lost a close 2018 race for the Assembly. Bonnie Lowenthal, meanwhile, took third in the 2014 race for mayor of Long Beach despite the congressman’s endorsement, while Long Beach City Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal (Daniel Lowenthal’s ex-wife), lost the concurrent race to succeed her in the Assembly.

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