Villaraigosa: “The Answer is No”

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made it clear -- he won't run for governor in 2010.

"I can't leave this city in the middle of a crisis," Villaraigosa said on CNN. "I was elected and re-elected by the people of this city. I feel compelled to complete the promise I made to them."

The Democratic mayor appeared on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Villaraigosa said a month ago he would consider joining the campaign to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is barred by law from seeking a third consecutive term. Typically, aspiring candidates for governor would begin aggressively raising money and making appearances around California, but the mayor has shown few signs that he is preparing for a statewide candidacy as he contends with a budget crisis and recession in his hometown.

When asked whether he would endorse a candidate, Villaraigosa said he is "not focused on that."

"There's plenty of time to weigh in on that race," he said.

If Villaraigosa had jumped into the race for governor, it would have surprised even one of his close advisers.

Democratic consultant Kerman Maddux has had numerous private conversations about the 2010 race with the mayor, and he said before the announcement that he doesn't see Villaraigosa showing the excitement and tenacity he typically displays before launching a campaign.

"In the past I've noticed a certain fire in the belly when he was considering running for office," Maddux told The Associated Press in an interview. "I don't sense that same fire in the belly in the quest for the governorship. He might fool me ... but I don't get that same sense."

Another sign: details for the interview were handled by his City Hall staff, not political advisers who would normally be involved in campaign activities.

Other potential candidates include Attorney General Jerry Brown, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, and several Republicans including former Rep. Tom Campbell, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman.
Villaraigosa is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. It's a position that places him in line to head the organization in 2011.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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