Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made no secret that he is thinking about running for president. Pundits rejected the idea declaring that Garcetti has no national identity and pointed out that no president has come directly from a mayor’s office. In fact, few men who have served as mayor at one time ever became president. Yet, in these turbulent political times it would be foolish to dismiss the idea outright.

Only three men who served as mayor ever became president: Andrew Johnson of little Greeneville, Tennessee; Grover Cleveland of Buffalo, New York; and Calvin Coolidge of Northampton, Massachusetts. All three went on to become governors before making president.

If Garcetti had desires for higher political office he was asked why he didn’t take a shot at the open California governor’s race this year. He responded that he enjoyed serving the people of Los Angeles, but Garcetti probably was aware that a jump from Los Angeles mayor to California governor is not a well-worn path, either.

In fact, only one person who served as Los Angeles mayor became the governor of California and that individual, William D. Stephens, probably shouldn’t even be considered a mayor, although he technically was for less than two weeks in March 1909. Stephens filled the office when the sitting mayor resigned to avoid a recall election. The man who won the recall soon replaced Stephens. Stephens went on to become governor eight years later.

Given the history that the LA mayor’s job is not a launching pad for governor, Garcetti probably figures why not opt for the greater leap, even with big odds stacked against him.

That hasn’t stopped Garcetti from getting around to build a more national profile. The Los Angeles Times, in suing for records of Garcetti’s LAPD protection costs as he travels, reported that nearly a third of the time in the previous 12 month he was out of state.

Currently, Garcetti is on a ten-day tour of Asia with elected officials and business leaders to promote Los Angeles business overseas. But, he will also be meeting with U.S. officials on the tour and picking up information on international relations that can serve a presidential campaign.

Garcetti holds Los Angeles up as a model of a place where diverse communities come together to overcome challenges. Unlike other candidates he will base a presidential run on helping communities where local decisions directly affect lives.

Certainly, Garcetti’s presidential hopes face plenty of hurdles. Will his message stand out against multiple opponents vying for the nomination, all of whom will be very critical of President Trump? Will the leader of a diverse city often viewed from afar as a culturally libertine mecca be acceptable for voters around the country? Will the homeless issue, which plagues L.A., be used to bludgeon him if strides have not been made in a couple of years and opponents feel he is vulnerable on the issue. There are more obstacles.

What about his potential opponents from his home state? California has an early primary. If Garcetti is not successful in a California primary what kind of message will that send nationally? California Senator Kamala Harris is considering a run and billionaire activist Tom Steyer from San Francisco might also jump in. Don’t dismiss the idea of Gavin Newsom joining the race, either, as conjectured by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Government Studies Ethan Rarick here.

With many potential Democratic candidates attempting to drive the party to the left, Garcetti will try to maneuver to a spot that holds progressives while appealing to mainstream Democrats. Garcetti doesn’t have the progressive moniker attached to him like many expected candidates that wear the label like a superhero’s cape. If he is seen as someone who can link wings of the party together it would improve his chances.

Lot of speculation at this point but just because he is a mayor doesn’t mean the task is impossible. Remember, the last two presidents that voters elected were a U.S. Senator who had less than one term under his belt and a few years as a state senator and a reality TV star and developer. Given that history, electing a mayor from a city of 4 million residents (larger than 23 states) does not sound so out of bounds, as difficult as it will be.