WASHINGTON — Sen. Barbara Boxer's decision not to seek re-election to a fifth term provides a rare opening for ambitious California Democrats who have been waiting patiently to move up the political ranks.

Boxer and Senate colleague Dianne Feinstein first won election to the Senate in 1992 and have pretty much had a lock on their jobs. Another venerable Democrat, Gov. Jerry Brown, was just sworn in for a record fourth term.

A Democratic strategist, Michael Trujillo, says a number of Democratic rock stars have been sitting on the bench. He says many of them are ready to bring their brand to a larger stage.

Among the Democrats who might try to succeed Boxer are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Attorney General Kamala Harris and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.