LOS ANGELES — Eric M. Garcetti, the two-term mayor of Los Angeles who has flirted with higher office the last two years by crisscrossing the country and raising money for the Democratic Party, said Tuesday he was not running for his party’s nomination for president.
Mr. Garcetti has spent the better part of two years saying he was actively considering running for president. He would have joined a crowded and growing field of Democratic presidential candidates — include his home-state senator, Kamala Harris — and would have done so facing long odds. No sitting mayor has ever been elected president.
Mr. Garcetti, 47, is a former Rhodes Scholar who has spent much of his professional life in city government, and reflects the diversity of the city he leads, with Italian, Jewish and Mexican roots. In a city that is majority Latino, Mr. Garcetti, when speaking publicly, often switches back and forth between English and Spanish. He grew up as the son of a prominent public official in the city — his father, Gil Garcetti, is a former district attorney who became nationally known as the prosecutor leading the O.J. Simpson trial.
Mr. Garcetti, along with other leaders in a state that has steadily become more liberal, has eagerly touted Los Angeles — and California — as a counterweight to the agenda of President Trump, giving him a national profile that he, at one pint, thought could make him a viable national candidate. He has embraced Los Angeles’s role as a sanctuary city that protects undocumented immigrants from federal immigration authorities, and sought to shape the agenda of the Democratic Party by pushing for more liberal policy goals.
In an interview in late 2017 with The New York Times, as he was already thinking about running for president, Mr. Garcetti described himself as a member of the “impatient next generation” of Democratic leaders.
For all his appeal as a Democratic candidate, he has few major accomplishments to point to as the mayor of Los Angeles, a famously decentralized place where the mayor has lesser powers than one would in other major cities. But he is coming off a high point, having helped negotiate an agreement to end the recent teachers’ strike in the nation’s second-largest school district. He has also been credited with expanding public transportation, and helped secure the Olympics for Los Angeles in 2028.
But he has presided over the city at a time when homelessness has skyrocketed. While Mr. Garcetti can claim success in convincing voters to pass a ballot measure to build housing for the homeless, tens of thousands still live on the city’s streets.
Tent encampments have sprouted seemingly everywhere — under freeway overpasses, in parks, on street corners. As he weighed whether to run for the presidency, the ease in which any opponent could film dystopian scenes of the Los Angeles streets in attack campaign ads was seen by some as a deterrent to running.
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