With so many current and former governors possibly lining up to run for the presidency — Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFor a win on climate, let's put our best player in the game Personal security costs for anti-Trump lawmakers spiked post-riot The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden to Putin: Tough sanctions, straight talk MORE (R-Mass.), Chris ChristieChris ChristieEnergy secretary: 'We don't want to use past definitions of infrastructure' Christie: Biden lying about Georgia voting bill Experts take pro-vaccine message to right-wing skeptics MORE (R-N.J.), Brian Schweitzer (D-Mont.) and Martin O'Malley (D-Md.), to name just five — it is likely to be a very gubernatorial campaign in 2016. This makes sense for at least two reasons: former governors have a history of presidential victories — Carter, Reagan and Clinton, of late — and the country seems fed up with Washington and all those associated with it.


But what about the mayors? At least 30 US cities have populations larger than the smallest state, Wyoming (estimated to be around 580,000) and cities have become centers of innovation (see Bruce Katz's book, The Metropolitan Revolution), meaning former mayors have accumulated many of the same qualifications of some former governors.

There also is precedent, though perhaps not as substantial as for the governors. Presidents Andrew Johnson (Greeneville, Tenn.), Grover Cleveland (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Calvin Coolidge (Northampton, Mass.), all served as mayor before being elected president.

So who's out there to hope for in 2016 and beyond? President Obama has two former mayors in his cabinet: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian CastroJulian CastroMore GOP-led states risk corporate backlash like Georgia's More than 200 Obama officials sign letter supporting Biden's stimulus plan OVERNIGHT ENERGY: McEachin signals interest in Biden administration environment role | Haaland, eyed for Interior, stresses need for Native American representation | Haaland backers ask Udall to step aside in bid for Interior post MORE, who had previously served as mayor of San Antonio, and Secretary of Transportation Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxHillicon Valley: Uber, Lyft agree to take California labor win nationwide | Zoom to implement new security program along with FTC | Virgin Hyperloop completes first test ride with passengers Uber, Lyft eager to take California labor win nationwide Big Dem names show little interest in Senate MORE, the former mayor of Charlotte, N.C. Each now knows the federal government and will be out of a job in 2016.

Cory BookerCory BookerProgressive lawmakers press DHS chief on immigration detention Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico Biden's DOJ civil rights nominee faces sharp GOP criticism MORE (D), current New Jersey senator and former mayor of Newark, also has a national following and maybe even some presidential aspirations.

The Republicans have several mayoral rising stars of their own, not even counting former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska Sarah Palin (R), and New  York's two formers, Rudy Giuliani (R) and Mike Bloomberg (I), who have never been shy for the national spotlight.

While there are a few obvious names, Republicans have struggled to win in urban centers, holding just a handful of the seats in the country's biggest cities. An exception is Kevin FaulconerKevin FaulconerFederal stimulus boosts Newsom ahead of recall Post-COVID equity must include closing racial gaps in housing What's next in the California recall MORE, the newly elected mayor of San Diego, and also Richard Berry, the first Republican mayor of Albuquerque, N.M. in three decades.

Perhaps one of the party's best shots has just started in Congress. Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains McAdams concedes to Owens in competitive Utah district MORE, now Rep. Love, cut her teeth in local politics as the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, from 2010 to 2014. While she didn't run on financial reform policy, she will play a role in overseeing the Treasury Department from her new perch on the Financial Services Committee.

Realistically, Love and Castro are probably eyeing 2020 or beyond, leaving Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWorld passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Sirota: Biden has not fulfilled campaign promise of combating union-busting tactics Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents MORE (I-Vt.) the most serious former mayor in line for 2016. Sanders served as the mayor of Burlington, Vt., during much of the 1980s, and has represented his state in the Senate since 2007. While he hasn't announced a presidential campaign, nor whether he'd run as an independent or Democrat, he would likely be the strongest mayoral candidate in the highly gubernatorial 2016 field.

If one of these mayors wins in the future, we can only hope they fare better than their predecessors (Johnson, Cleveland, and Coolidge); none of whom cracked the top 20 list of best presidents of all time. Just Theodore Roosevelt — who came close but, lost his mayoral bid in New York — finishes in the top five.

This piece has been updated to correct the surname of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R).

Brown is an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. He is the author of Lobbying the New President: Interests in Transition (Routledge, 2012).