Villaraigosa’s Non-Announcement Announcement

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came as close as one can to making an announcement about running for governor without crossing the line as he responded to a question at Town Hall Los Angeles yesterday. But if he wasn’t over the line, the shadow of his future ambition was way past it.

Asked how come more mayors from the state’s largest city are not elected governor and would he like to see that change, Villaraigosa stood up from his seat and with a big smile on his face mimed the motion of an underhanded softball pitch.

There was no question what he was thinking in answering the query.

“I think it should change,” Villaraigosa said. “I want it to change,” and it’s pretty clear the writing is on the wall, he added in referring to what he intends. Responding to laughter in the room, he said, “Everyone laughs because I think we all know.”

The former LA mayor did note that few mayors from San Francisco have made it to the governor’s chair, too. He said voters are always concerned whether a mayor from a big city would just look out for his or her home city if elected governor. As governor you have to do the “greater good for the greater state.”

Later, Villaraigosa said any announcement would be deferred. Voters are not paying attention because they are caught up in the presidential election, he said.

I asked Villaraigosa his reaction to the Public Policy Institute poll showing Loretta Sanchez ahead of Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate race among Latinos (36% to 22%).

He said he wasn’t surprised that Sanchez was leading among Latinos and he expected the gap to grow. That’s what happens when voters get excited, he said.

Perhaps, the senate contest could serve as a marker Villaraigosa will be watching as he considers what might happen if he runs for governor.

Come to think of it, Villaraigosa did cross the line with one firm announcement. He told the audience he was going to marry Patricia Govea, who accompanied him to the event.

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