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Alex Padilla
Math is a factor in Villaraigosa's decision whether to run for Senate
Math is a factor in Villaraigosa's decision whether to run for Senate

Maybe Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Los Angeles mayor, has edged toward a run for the newly open U.S. Senate seat in 2016 for all the reasons he offered last weekend: that Californians are struggling to make ends meet and that the "needs of the people" are urgent. Or maybe he's just good at math. The electoral arithmetic that governs California is central to decisions by a candidate like Villaraigosa. And it can be bleak: As a Latino candidate from Southern California, he faces long odds against winning a slot in a statewide general election. His chances are better if, as with the Senate contest, the race coincides with the heat of a presidential contest. But even...

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