Kevin Faulconer said Tuesday that he won’t run for governor of California in 2018 if reelected mayor of San Diego, depriving Republicans of one of its better-known names in a potentially crowded Democratic field.
Faulconer said he was committed to serving a full term as leader of the nation’s eighth largest city.
“I am here for four years as mayor,” he told the Associated Press.
Faulconer heads toward a June 7 mayoral election seeking to win a majority of votes needed to avoid a November runoff of the top two finishers. His successes in a city where Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans have fueled speculation that he may try to succeed Jerry Brown as governor of the nation’s most populous state.
“I think of some of the reason that I get that question is because of the tremendous turnaround that we’ve had here in San Diego. My style is it’s not about partisanship, and you hear me talk about that quite a bit because I believe it. God knows there’s enough partisanship on the national level.”
Faulconer has pursued a pro-business agenda closely aligned with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce while embracing more liberal positions on issues such as immigration and gay rights. He reaffirmed his refusal to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.
“I said I’m focusing on local issues and building bridges in San Diego, and [Trump] hasn’t earned my vote,” he said.
Faulconer and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin are often mentioned as potential Republican contenders for governor in a state dominated by Democrats.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom started banking cash more than a year ago for a run in 2018, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to run. Treasurer John Chiang said last week that he will begin raising money to become the state’s first Asian governor.
Other potential contenders include former eBay executive and state controller Steve Westly, billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer and current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.