The mayor of Los Angeles said yesterday he will not run for governor of California next year, upending the race to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger. In an interview with the Times, Antonio Villaraigosa said he made the "agonizing" choice to stay at city hall to tackle the fiscal crisis and spiking unemployment. The announcement is a boon for former governor Jerry Brown, the current AG, who is expected to pick up Villaraigosa's support.
Brown and San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom are now the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination. Another candidate, possibly Rep. Loretta Sanchez, might jump in. Villaraigosa wasn't polling well, and Los Angeles magazine recently branded him a "failure" on its cover. He insisted that only concern for LA and his family informed his decision. His supporters are already talking about a 2012 Senate run.