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California

L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti says he won’t run for California governor

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2017: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti speak at a press brie
“I am passionate about my city and my family; both are here in Los Angeles,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday on Twitter.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Sunday that he won’t run for governor of California, ending speculation that he would scramble the Democratic field in the race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018.

“I am passionate about my city and my family; both are here in Los Angeles,” he said in a series of tweets. “We have a lot of work left to do to build a stronger city, state, and nation and I know I can best build on our progress here in LA.”

Garcetti’s announcement is not considered a surprise. Although the mayor refused in recent months to rule out a run for governor, he made no major moves to suggest that he would enter the race, which already includes top Democratic candidates Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Still, Garcetti’s decision narrows his choices for higher office in the short term.

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Since Garcetti, 46, was reelected as mayor in a landslide this year, there have been questions about his next move. Another option was running for U.S. Senate, but that was before Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced she would seek another term.

Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A., said Garcetti is young enough that his decision to bypass the governor’s race in 2018 isn’t a problem.

“I don’t think Garcetti loses anything by not putting his hat in the ring,” Sonenshein said.

Due to a one-time change in election dates, Garcetti will serve as mayor until 2022, giving him an extra year and a half in office.

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With the extended term, the mayor has the opportunity to “carve out the things he wants to accomplish,” Sonenshein said.

Garcetti’s entry into the governor’s race would have instantly changed the dynamic of the campaign. He shares donors with three of the top Democratic candidates in the race: Newsom, Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang.

In addition, Villaraigosa’s campaign is based on a strong showing from both Latino and Los Angeles voters, two demographics Garcetti would have courted.

Garcetti and Newsom, who belong to the same generation of Democratic politicians, both appeal to the progressive wing of the California Democratic party.

Some have suggested Garcetti could be a presidential candidate in 2020, speculation the mayor has helped fuel by his trips to the swing states of New Hampshire and Wisconsin. He has also had at least one meeting with a major Democratic donor.

Garcetti hasn’t officially announced an interest in running for president, but he has not shut down speculation either.

“I think all the rules are off,” he told a Wisconsin TV station during a June visit to the state. “No African American could be president until one was. No reality star could be president until one is.”

Garcetti political advisor Yusef Robb confirmed Sunday the mayor plans to travel to South Carolina early next year to talk about jobs. The state hosts the South’s first presidential primary.

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dakota.smith@latimes.com


UPDATES:

5:25 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information about the governor’s race.

3 p.m.: This article was updated with additional background on Garcetti.

This article was originally posted at 2:40 p.m.


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