On Jan. 2, 2008, Tom Lantos, currently a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California 's 12th district, announced that he would not seek a 15th term after learning he was stricken with cancer of the esophagus. Lantos plans to complete his current term and is not going to seek re-election.
Among the successors are Jackie Speier, a former Democratic member of the California State Senate, Robert Barrows, the owner of a Burlingame public relations firm and inventor of the “Video Enhanced Gravemarker”, and Yul Kwon, a resident of San Mateo, California, a former legislative aide to Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman and the winner of Survivor: Cook Islands.
Speier is the most favorable and secure candidate especially when getting Tom Lantos’ support and endorsement.
As a member of the California State Senate Speier represented parts of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. She spent much of 2007 building support to challenge Lantos in the Democratic party primary.