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The worst kept secret in L.A. is out - Antonio Villaraigosa is running for mayor again. The Times has the scoop.

Villaraigosa says that as mayor, his top priorities would be halting gang crime, the economy, and "build[ing] trust in city government." It will be interesting to see if he can credibly act upon the last of these ideas, as cynicism towards government seems to be ascendant in most of American politics.

We have to love the way that this genuinely competitive race is freaking out some of the pundits. In the Times story, some political scientists seem to be able to speak only in terms of Star Trek metaphor: "Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst and senior scholar at USC, said the race appears wide open at this point. "This is a game of three-dimensional chess," she said. "I have no idea how this is going to play out.... That's the bottom line." Thanks, Sherry!

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Indeed, all of Hahn's key constituencies are set to be engaged by candidates who can hurt him. The mayor is far ahead in fundraising, but it's not unreasonable to think that he could miss a runoff.

For now, LAist ranks Hahn, Villaraigosa, and Hertzberg as the 3 candidates most likely to win. Additionally, it's hard to think of many reasons to take the candidacies of Richard Alarcon and Republican Walter Moore seriously. Here's hoping that a close race will inspire a genuine and widespread debate about the future of the city.