Capitol Alert

Running for governor? Antonio Villaraigosa not interested in Clinton cabinet

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday that he has no interest serving in a possible Hillary Clinton presidential administration and will make his decision about the 2018 California governor’s race within days of next Tuesday’s election.

“I am not looking for accolades or prestige. I want to serve,” Villaraigosa said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee.

“I am dedicated to California,” added Villaraigosa, who campaigned for Clinton in Nevada, Colorado, Iowa and Washington, and has forcefully rebuked her opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump. “My focus will continue to be on California....”

Villaraigosa has spent more than a year traveling the state, and in recent months has lent his support to issues on the statewide ballot, including the $9 billion school facilities bond and repeal of the death penalty. On Tuesday, joined by a pair of aides – one Republican, one Democrat – he darted around Sacramento for Spanish-language interviews, urging people to turn out in next week’s election and support his preferred ballot issues.

He would wade into a potentially crowded and well-funded field to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown when the Democrat leaves the office in two years. Among the top-tier gubernatorial prospects, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Treasurer John Chiang entered the governor’s race months ago and have been raising money, while billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has actively entertained the possibility.

Villaraigosa, meanwhile has not begun to raise money for statewide office. “A decision is forthcoming a few days after the election,” he said.

Villaraigosa said he has “a lot of respect” for his potential challengers, pointing to a convivial message he posted online when Chiang announced his bid.

“It was confusing because we’re not used to people saying nice things about other people, particularly if they might end up in the same race. I am not one of those people,” he said.

Villaraigosa said he also has “nice things to say about Gavin,” offering a more-the-merrier-approach he might apply to a campaign for governor.

“If you look at my career over the years I don’t spend a lot of time on the negative. My message is always hopeful and positive and it’s uniting. Everybody has the right to run and they are all decent people.”

“Of course, over the next couple of years,” he added in the most overt remarks about his future “we’ll all get an opportunity to make our case, right?”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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