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Antonio Villaraigosa: 'I fully expect' to run for governor someday

June 18, 2013|By James Rainey
  • "This city has given me more than I could have ever hoped for," L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told a radio host Tuesday.
"This city has given me more than I could have ever hoped for,"… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

Outgoing Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday gave one of his most specific hints about his continuing interest in running for California governor -- telling KPCC radio host Larry Mantle that he wants the job and expects to run one day.

"You mentioned governor -- look, I believe in public service, I want to run for governor. In fact, I fully expect that I will," Villaraigosa said. "I'm going to tell you something. I will never have a job like this. This city has given me more than I could have ever hoped for."

Villaraigosa, who leaves office June 30, did not talk about timing, though he has indicated before he would not run against Gov. Jerry Brown, a fellow Democrat, who will be up for a second term next year.

The 60-year-old mayor said in March, "One day I'd like to run for governor, but there's not a vacancy last time I looked." Villaraigosa is leaving the mayor's office after the maximum eight years. He has been credited with building the Police Department to 10,000 officers, though he also laid off a substantial portion of the city workforce because of tax shortfalls during the nation's Great Recession.

Villaraigosa had earlier been rumored to have a shot at an appointment to President Obama's cabinet, perhaps as Labor secretary. No job was forthcoming and the mayor has been unclear about what he will do  beginning July 1.

Two other prominent Democrats -- Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Lt. Gov.  Gavin Newsom -- are seen as strong potential candidates for the governor's office.

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james.rainey@latimes.com

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