Garcetti won't run for president

Garcetti won't run for president
© Getty

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will not run for president in 2020, quashing speculation that he could be the next candidate to enter an increasingly crowded Democratic primary field.

Speaking at a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday, Garcetti said that after giving thought to a presidential run, he decided the mayor’s office “is where I want to be.”

“I believe that whenever possible you should finish the job you set out to do,” Garcetti told reporters. “So I have decided not to throw my hat into the ring to run for president in 2020. This was not an easy decision given he extraordinary times we live in.”

News of Garcetti’s decision was first reported by Politico on Tuesday. A source close to the Los Angeles mayor confirmed the decision to The Hill. An adviser to Garcetti did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Garcetti, fresh off a trip to Washington, drew a striking contrast between his work in Los Angeles city government and what he described as dysfunction at the federal level, pointing to the recent five-week government shutdown that ended only on Friday.

“It is such an honor to work at the local level, where America works every single day,” he said. “You can’t make anything great if you can’t make it work.”

In a series of tweets, Garcetti said his tour of cities around the country led him to conclude his role is best served as a local leader.

"Reflecting on my travels and recognizing the incredible opportunity I have every day as an American mayor, I realized that this is what I am meant to do," he tweeted. "This is where I want to be."

"I am so excited to finish the work that we have begun here in Los Angeles," he added.

The decision not to seek the Democratic nomination in 2020 came a week after Garcetti notched a political victory when he struck a deal with the Los Angeles teachers union to end a six-day strike that shut down schools and left more than 600,000 students in limbo.

Garcetti's decision also came days after another Californian, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed Harris calls idea of Trump trusting Putin over US intel ‘height of irresponsibility and shameful’ Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report MORE (D), officially kicked off her campaign for the White House on Sunday with a rally in Oakland.

ADVERTISEMENT

Speculation that Garcetti was eyeing a presidential run had swirled for months. During the 2018 midterms, Garcetti leveraged his credentials as the mayor of the country’s second largest city to raise money for state Democratic parties in a play that many took as a sign of his presidential ambitions.

Garcetti was in Washington last week, where he was greeted by fellow mayors as a rock star in the making. Several mayors told The Hill they had private conversations with Garcetti, who appeared to be paving the way for a presidential bid.

Garcetti said during a press conference on Thursday that his decision had been put on hold by the teachers strike and that he did not have a specific timeline for announcing a potential campaign.

But he also used the press conference to tout his experience as mayor, arguing that the federal government could stand to learn from city officials how to tackle disagreements and reach compromises, keeping alive rumors that he was still considering a White House bid.

“Even if I don’t run, I hope that a lot of mayors do. Mayors know how to run things,” Garcetti said on Thursday. “I don’t think it’s a résumé anymore that fits into people’s preconceived notions.”

The Democratic primary field has grown increasingly crowded in recent weeks. So far, eight candidates have thrown their names into the running, including Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Senate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up MORE (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Booker seeks dialogue about race as he kicks off 2020 campaign MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDNC punts on measure to reduce role of corporate PAC money NBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race MORE (D-Hawaii).

Several other Democrats are expected to announce presidential bids of their own in the coming weeks.

– Reid Wilson contributed to this report, which was updated at 8:26 p.m.