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Rival Mayoral Candidate Wants Garcetti To Promise He Won't Run For Governor

(Photo courtesy of Mitchell Schwartz via Facebook)
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Long-shot mayoral candidate Mitchell Schwartz publicly challenged Mayor Eric Garcetti over the incumbent's speculated long-term political aspirations on Wednesday.

Schwartz, a Democratic political strategist and Garcetti's most high-profile challenger in the upcoming March election, has called on Garcetti to pledge that he won't run for governor in 2018, when Governor Jerry Brown steps down.

“You can’t be mayor while you’re running,” Schwartz, who directed President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign in California, told the L.A. Times. “You would barely be serving.”

“He’s taking one election at a time,” Bill Carrick, a consultant for Garcetti's 2017 reelection campaign, told the Times. “He hasn’t made any decision about running for any political office other than the mayor’s office.”

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“It’s the standard dance,” Michael Madrid, political strategist and a USC Unruh Institute fellow, told LAist. “Any mayor of L.A. is eyeing something statewide.”

Madrid also noted that mayoral elections are typically referendum votes. “If voters decide they don’t like the incumbent, they’ll have to decide if the alternative is better,” he told LAist. If Schwartz is calling out Garcetti as a strategy to prove the incumbent should go, he “will need more than that to prove he’s a better alternative”.

The citywide election will be held on March 7, but expectations for voter turnout is low. In 2013, only 16 percent of eligible voters showed up to the polls for the primary vote (well done, L.A.!).

Furthermore, because of a retooling in the city’s election schedule, the winner of the 2017 election will enjoy an unusually long five-and-a-half-year term (as opposed to the normal four) while L.A. waits to align with the state’s cycle, according to KCET. That means that, if Garcetti wins, he'll have to delay any run for higher political office until 2022, or risk the fallout of shortchanging his core constituency: L.A. voters.