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Amid Biden speculation, Garcetti says it’s ‘more likely than not’ he’ll remain as L.A. mayor

Joe Biden, center, and Eric Garcetti, right
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, right, is a co-chair of the campaign to elect Joe Biden, center, as president of the United States.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

Mayor Eric Garcetti floated himself as a possible presidential candidate for 18 months before telling Angelenos last year he wouldn’t run because he wanted to “finish the job” of running L.A.

Now, Garcetti could face another job prospect.

The mayor did not provide a definitive answer Wednesday when asked by The Times whether he’d like to join a Joe Biden Cabinet should the Democratic candidate be elected president. Garcetti endorsed Biden earlier this year when the prospects for his nomination were uncertain, and serves as a co-chair of his campaign.

Garcetti, whose term ends in 2022, said that “it’s more likely than not” that he’ll be L.A.'s mayor in two years.

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“But I always look at it very openly about, you know, what can I help the most people with?” he added.

Various publications have suggested he could be named to head the Department of Transportation or the Housing and Urban Development Department, despite a mixed record on both transportation and homelessness.

If an offer from the White House does come, it wouldn’t be the first time. Garcetti was asked by President Obama to serve in the White House overseeing urban policy, but the then-councilman turned it down to run for mayor in 2013.

Cameron French, a spokesman for the Biden transition team, said Wednesday that no personnel decisions were being made before the election. The Biden campaign declined to comment.

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Enthusiastic donors, many in California, swelled Joe Biden’s campaign accounts this summer, and he headed into the fall with a huge financial advantage over Trump.

Garcetti has traveled to two debates during the pandemic and said Wednesday that he’s working “very hard as co-chair” for Biden. He also served on the vetting team that helped pick Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as Biden’s running mate. The Washington Post reported that the vetting team logged more than 120 hours on the process.

Asked how much time he’s spending running the city these days, Garcetti said “there’s been no reduction in my hours whatsoever.”

The mayor also said Wednesday that he “doesn’t have a secret plan to get to Washington.”

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Over the last four years, Garcetti has at points traveled extensively out of state, launched a nonprofit focused on spurring economic development across the country, raised money for the Democratic Party in key voting states, and compared himself to presidential candidates, all suggesting to some he is squarely focused on one day getting to the White House.

Whoever does get to Washington needs to expand the Section 8 housing program so that everyone who qualifies can receive rental support, Garcetti said Wednesday.

“It weighs heavy on me that I think no mayor by him or herself is going to be able to single-handedly solve homelessness,” he said. “And I think even a city and county at their best are going to be hard-pressed to solve this.”


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