FOX has learned that five-term Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA) will retire at the end of this term.
The 76-year-old Watson represents parts of Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles. In a 2006 evaluation of voting records, National Journal ranked the California Democrat as the most-liberal Member of Congress. President Obama won her district by 32 points in the 2008 election.
Her district has more than 80 percent Democratic voter registration and political handicappers would expect the seat to remain in Democratic hands this fall.
Watson is a Member of the Congressional Black Caucus. But she served as a super delegate for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver.
Before entering politics, Watson worked as a elementary school teacher and a school psychologist. Even though her district includes the University of Southern California, Watson earned her undergraduate degree from arch-rival UCLA and her doctorate in education at Claremont Graduate School.
She was the first African American woman ever elected to the Los Angeles School Unified Board and later served in the California State Senate.
Watson becomes the 12th House Democrat to announce their retirement. Seventeen Republicans have decided against seeking re-election, including Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) earlier Wednesday.