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Berman Says He Won't Run for L.A. Mayor

November 07, 1996|JEAN MERL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rep. Howard Berman said Wednesday that he will not challenge Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan in this spring's municipal elections.

"That is no longer under consideration," the Democratic congressman said from his district office in Mission Hills about his decision not to pursue a mayoral bid, at least not this time around.

Had Democrats been able to recapture a majority of House seats, the seven-term congressional veteran and prominent local political player would almost certainly have taken a key role in the new House leadership.

"I wanted to stay in the House," Berman said. He turned aside the urgings of several liberal Democrats who were hoping he would make the race against the well-bankrolled Riordan, who is seeking a second term in the April 8 municipal primary.

"But apart from anything else, one does not run for mayor four to five months before the election," Berman said, citing the tasks of raising money, assembling a campaign organization and strengthening ties in such a sprawling, diverse city as Los Angeles. Berman added that his decision last spring to "bank on the Democrats regaining the House" all but precluded challenging Riordan in the spring.

The other most-talked-about potential Riordan challenger, State Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles) is still weighing his options, an aide said Wednesday.

Hayden can stay put. He handily won another four-year term in Sacramento on Tuesday and sees a chance to accomplish more because the Democrats recaptured a majority in the Assembly, aide Patricia Shin said. He also is considering whether to run for the 11th District City Council seat being vacated next year by Councilman Marvin Braude and has not ruled out making a bid for mayor, Shin added.

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