Barbara Boxer

Sen. Barbara Boxer, up for re-election in 2016, has less than $200,000 in her campaign account. (Photo: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle)

Phillip Matier And Andrew Ross
Updated 3:02 am, Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sen. Barbara Boxer says she has yet to make up her mind about seeking a fifth term in 2016, but there’s no shortage of signs that the Democrat may be opting out.

It’s not just that she has less than $200,000 in her campaign account, compared with $3.5 million at this stage before her last election fight. Some comments from those who know the 73-year-old senator are also telling.

“She is not running for re-election,” said one longtime Democratic fundraiser with deep ties to Boxer, who spoke only on background.

State Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, Boxer’s longtime friend and mentor, says she has not informed him of her intentions. But at a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco on Thursday night, co-hosted by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris, Burton told the crowd, “When we meet here four years from tonight, we could be looking at one California governor and one U.S. senator.”

Newsom and Harris are merely at the top of what could be a very long list of candidates vying for the Senate seat should Boxer decide not to run.

On the Democratic side, there’s billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, outgoing Controller John Chiang and University of California President Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor and homeland security chief.

Republicans have had a hard time winning statewide office in recent years, but they’ve got two potential self-funding millionaires who might well run: Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista (San Diego County) and former business executive Carly Fiorina, who lost to Boxer four years ago.

Dig deep: State and federal agencies have been sent back to the starting line after the draft of the required report on the environmental effects of Gov. Jerry Brown’s giant water-diversion tunnels came up short.

The California Department of Water Resources, the federal Bureau of Reclamation, and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies spent three years producing a 45,000-page draft for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to review.

The report said the project would violate federal environmental standards – something that came as a surprise to the heads of some of the agencies that produced it.

At that point, the EPA concluded that the report wasn’t clear on how problems caused by the tunnels, which would divert Sacramento River water around the delta for the Central Valley and Southern California, would be mitigated – and kicked the report back for a redo.

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