Updated: Democratic Rep. Jane Harman of California to Resign From Congress

The Washington Postis reporting that Rep. Jane Harman, a blue dog Democrat representing California's 36th district, will resign from Congress to become the director of Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center.

The Congresswoman has been in office since 2000. A special election will be held to fill her seat, which is described as "reliably Democratic."

More to come as we get details.

Update:Goobergunch's Diary at the Daily Kos had this to say about Harman:

Harman, the second richest member of the House, is notable for voting for the Iraq war, defending the USA PATRIOT Act and other bills that restrict Americans' civil liberties, and other conservative votes (e.g. the estate tax repeal).

While it's hard to say exactly why Harman is stepping down now (I'm inclined to agree with the "doesn't want to serve in the minority" hypothesis), the Woodrow Wilson Center claims to

commemorate the ideals and concerns of Woodrow Wilson by: providing a link between the world of ideas and the world of policy; and fostering research, study, discussion, and collaboration among a full spectrum of individuals concerned with policy and scholarship in national and world affairs.

(I know, that blockquote didn't really say anything.)

Kos' Steve Singiser offered a bit more background:

Harman was first elected in 1992, when the suburban Los Angeles district was a fair-fight district split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Redistricting in 2001 gave Harman a considerably more liberal district, but her politics remained centrist, even center-right on some areas of policy. This frustrated some area progressives, and Democrat Marcy Winograd primaried Harman from the left in recent cycles, coming as close as 59-41 last year.

Winograd would certainly be tempted to contest this district again, but she will certainly have company.

...including former state assemblyman Ted Lieu, who is currently vying for the state Senate seat left open by the late Jenny Oropeza; LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn; and state Assemblywoman Betsy Butler.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at February 7, 2011, 5:31am

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