To Run or Not to Run? That is His Question — Two Looks at Mayor V
That’s also the unanswered political question that will shape the 2010 governor’s race, a little more than a year before next year’s primary.
While we’re awaiting word from L.A. City Hall that will indicate whether Antonio Alcalde will choose to suffer the slings and arrows of a governor’s race, today we present two Calbuzzer commentaries on the mayor that offer different perspectives about where he stands.
Journalist Ron Kaye, a frequent critic and political foe of Villaraigosa, argues that the combination of the mayor’s political problems and the city’s fiscal crisis will keep him on the sidelines in 2010. Then political consultant Richie Ross takes a second look at L.A. Magazine’s now famous attack on Villaraigosa and concludes it’s not the mayor who’s the “Failure.”
First, some context:
At the start of 2009, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa looked like a surefire, top-rank contender to succeed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently poised for easy re-election, he exuded confidence, even brashness, standing atop a strong base of labor and Latinos on which to build a statewide campaign.
Since then, however, the mayor has suffered a series of political setbacks, beginning with his underwhelming 55 percent re-election on March 3 against a weak field, and his city has become mired in the same kind of fiscal mess afflicting California government at every level.
Amid that backdrop, the calendar presents him with a tactical handicap in the Democratic race; he won’t be sworn in for his second term until July, effectively stalling his candidacy, while Attorney General Jerry Brown (not formally a candidate) and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (a declared candidate) have both been politically active for months.
For now, Newsom has a clear field in sniping at the front-runner Brown, styling himself as the Obama-like tribune of new politics against the old school Brown, the front-runner for the nomination. If Villaraigosa gets in, the shape of the race instantly changes, as he and Newsom will elbow and crowd each other as they try to position themselves as the chief challenger to the attorney general.
At this point, Villaraigosa himself is the only one who knows if that will happen or not. The indications we have say that he has genuinely not yet made that decision. As a practical matter, it’s not a choice that will wait much longer; lacking independent wealth, the L.A. mayor has to go out and grub for contributions like almost every candidate in California, and he’s already months behind in the money primary.