LOS ANGELES (CN) – After much speculation and several months of out-of-state political stops, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday he will not make a run for the White House in 2020.
Garcetti, 47, said running for president would take him away from Los Angeles, and that it’s important for him to continue to be a fierce challenger of politics in Washington.
“I’ve decided not to throw my hat into the ring, to not run for president in 2020,” said Garcetti.
Over the last year, Garcetti traveled to Idaho, Nevada and other states that are often campaign stops for presidential candidates. On Tuesday, he mentioned those stops played a part in his decision to not run for the higher office.
“Reflecting on those travels and recognizing the incredible opportunity that I have every single day as mayor of this great town, I realize that this is what I am meant to do,” said Garcetti. “This is where I want to be and this is a place where we have so much exciting work to finish.”
Garcetti said he will continue to travel later and added, “I think mayors make good presidents.”
He also noted the plethora of other candidates already vying for the office.
“I feel even more secure in my decision watching the field of candidates who are jumping into the race in 2020. Friends, colleagues, even fellow mayors,” said Garcetti. “Each of them shares my belief in a more united states of America and they can count on me to be with them with every step to take our country back.”
When asked if he planned to run for any other higher offices, Garcetti said, “No, no. I’m pledging to be mayor. I mean, you never know.”
Garcetti’s announcement only slightly alleviates the crowding of Democrats seeking to replace President Donald Trump, including U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris from California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro from Texas; U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii.
Angelenos first elected Garcetti as mayor in 2013. He won re-election in 2017. He is the first Jewish mayor elected to office. His paternal grandfather was from Mexico and his maternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants.
Earlier this month, Garcetti’s office acted as an unofficial mediator between the LA Unified School District and the teachers’ union during a citywide strike. The optics of Garcetti emerging with the bargaining team that ended the six-day strike were positive for the mayor but still pale when stacked against a laundry list of problems facing Los Angeles.
This past September, Los Angeles launched its temporary homeless shelter program to much opposition and outcry from Koreatown and Venice residents, who said the city ignored their input on placing shelters in their neighborhoods.
From 2010 to 2017, the unsheltered population in Los Angeles spiked by 42 percent. The average rent in Los Angeles County increased by 32 percent over the past 20 years.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles City Council was also rocked late last year when federal agents raided a councilman’s office and home in a corruption probe.
In addition to the raid on Councilman Jose Huizar’s office, several current and former City Hall employees are being investigated on suspicion of bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering in relation to development projects.
Garcetti commented on the probe at a press conference during the teacher’s strike Jan. 14.
“I don’t look at these kinds of things in political terms. I look at them in terms of what’s right,” Garcetti said. “I’m not responsible 100 percent of everybody’s actions in this building and elected officials, but I do take my responsibility seriously and I do expect every city employee to participate fully and cooperate fully with the FBI.”
Garcetti’s decision not to run comes just two days after Harris launched her bid for the U.S. presidency at an Oakland rally where she drew a crowd of about 20,000 and rebuked what she called Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric.
“People in power are trying to convince us that the villain in our America’s story is each other. But that is not our story; that is not who we are; that is not our America. Our United States of America is not about ‘Us versus Them.’ It’s about ‘We, the People,’” Harris said.
“We must seek truth, speak truth and fight for the truth,” she said. “So let’s speak some truth.”