Big developments are unfolding in the always interesting Santa Monica political scene. Longtime City Councilman Richard Bloom announced he won't run for re-election while his colleague Bobby Shriver is hinting at the same thing.

That means that for the first time in two decades, as The Lookout News reported, two seats on the Santa Monica City Council may be wide open in the November 2012 election.

That's no small thing. Once someone gets elected to a City Council in any municipality, it's very difficult to unseat an incumbent. Now Santa Monica voters, especially the ones who gripe about over-development in their beach town, have a golden opportunity to inject new blood into City Hall.

What's interesting, too, is Bloom's announcement. Democrat Bloom is heading for a November runoff against fellow Democrat Betsy Butler in the race for State Assembly District 50 — one of the wealthiest, most liberal political districts in the country.

Is Bloom's decision to leave Santa Monica politics a sign that he expects to defeat Butler?

He's still something of an underdog in the AD 50 race since he's facing California Democratic Party favorite Betsy Butler, who finished first in the primary.

Or is he readying himself to do whatever it takes to beat Butler and the state Democratic party machine?

Butler, who's a sitting assemblywoman, should take note. A focused and hard-working Bloom, who comes off as an affable, likable fellow when meeting voters face to face, will be a formidable opponent. And unlike Butler, he doesn't have to spend any time in Sacramento and away from the campaign trail.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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