Developer Rick Caruso announced Friday that he won't challenge Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the March 3 city
election, saying the job would place too heavy a burden on his family.
The announcement means that, with the deadline to file being noon Saturday, the mayor is unlikely to encounter any serious opposition in his re-election bid. Villaraigosa was part of a group meeting in Chicago with President-elect Barack Obama on economic issues on Friday.
Ending months of speculation, Caruso said in a statement that he was "genuinely grateful for all the encouragement I have received from people all over this city to run for mayor and the confidence they put in me."
But, he added, "I have decided that the obligation of serving as mayor would put a burden on my family that is too much at this point in their lives and, as a result, I will not be a candidate in the upcoming campaign for mayor."
He said it would be better if the youngest two of his four children "were a little older before they make the sacrifices that are required of the families of elected officials. I hope there will be other opportunities for me to run for mayor, but my children will only be kids once."
Experts said Caruso's wealth would have enabled him to conduct a credible campaign.
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Caruso is best known as the developer of The Grove shopping center. He also served on the Police and Water and Power commissions.
The biggest name among the 14 prospective candidates who have file declarations of intent to run against Villaraigosa is Walter Moore, a lawyer who finished sixth in the 2005 mayoral race with 11,409 votes, 2.77 percent of the total.
Moore has raised slightly more than $180,000 since January 2007, compared to $2.3 million by Villaraigosa.