The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board endorsed former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for Mayor on Thursday saying he should be California’s next governor because he “showed political courage in hard times.”
Villaraigosa is currently trending in third place behind former Chicago resident and San Diego businessman Republican John Cox who would make it to the general election if he finishes in second place behind frontrunner Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) is trending in fourth place. An NBC poll deemed him the winner of a debate this week; likely the last before the June fifth primary.
“Even in the best of times, the job of running the nation’s most populous state requires a particular set of talents that few possess,” the Times‘s Editorial Board wrote:
Successful governors must be visionary leaders but also adroit politicians who can wield the bully pulpit and the power of persuasion to wrangle an often-recalcitrant Legislature. They need the skills and charisma to build coalitions — but also the strength of character to make decisions that may be unpopular with longtime allies or powerful interests. The best governors are savvy, compassionate, resilient and resourceful.
None of the 27 candidates in this year’s crowded race for governor has demonstrated all of those qualities. But Antonio Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles and speaker of the state Assembly, comes closest. His skills and experience governing a city facing hard times make him our choice in the June primary election.
Despite their praise for Villaraigosa, the Times also noted their belief that “Villaraigosa is a complicated character with a big ego and a thin skin. We have our qualms about him,” they added regarding his position as a consultant to Herbalife among other business ventures. “Everyone is entitled to make a living, but we question some of Villaraigosa’s career judgments.”
Both Villaraigosa and Newsom have apologized for their past extra-marital affairs.
Despite this, the Times wrote that “Critics, however, describe Newsom as a whirlwind of ambition, lacking in core values and meaningful accomplishments, with little-demonstrated ability to build alliances and coalitions.”
During this week’s gubernatorial debate, Newsom said, “A Republican would be ideal in the general election.”
In 2014, the Times endorsed Gov. Jerry Brown for a fourth term.