Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa painted a pessimistic picture of California while announcing that he is considering a senatorial run now that Barbara Boxer is stepping down.
“Too many Californians are struggling to make ends meet, pay the bills, and send their kids to college,” the 61-year-old Democrat said on Saturday. “The urgency of the needs of the people of this great state have convinced me to seriously consider looking at running for California’s open Senate seat.”
Villaraigosa spent 2005 to 2013 as Mayor and left with a mixed approval rating for his performance. Near the end of his reign voters cast a 47% approval rating and 40% disapproval over his two terms.
Often seen by his detractors as self-aggrandizing, the former mayor spent a good deal of time out of town on political excursions. Although he was criticized for his flamboyance by some, he was able to retain strong approval ratings (58%) from his Democratic and Latino base.
High unemployment and the nationwide crash of the housing market tainted Villaraigosa’s mayoral record. Los Angeles was affected particularly hard by the 2008 recession.
The 41st mayor of Los Angeles is animated by a strong push for climate change and was the Chairman for the Democratic Convention held in Charlotte in 2012.
Politico stated that Villaraigosa is one of the first to actually express an interest in running for Boxer’s seat. However, many names have been floated for a potential run, including: billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer, AG Kamla Harris, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome and even Governor Jerry Brown.
Given that California is a borderline one-party state, Democrats should have no problem retaining the seat now held by the 74-year-old Boxer.