Antonio Villaraigosa, the absentee publicity whore mayor of Los Angeles, will not be heading to Washington. Villaraigosa was up on stage behind Barack Obama during last month's introduction of the magic economy-fixing team of advisors, for reasons that were utterly unclear (the man's financial expertise begins and ends with his ability to leverage an ineffective mayoralty into political superstardom). According to Antonio, he totally had a serious conversation with the president-elect about a possible appointment, but (once again according to Antonio) he turned Obama down.
Villaraigosa decided to stay in Los Angeles for two reasons: one, Barack Obama is hopefully too smart to appoint this empty suit to any position of real importance, and two, if Villaraigosa left LA now for a national gig, Los Angeles would actually not have a mayor next year.
Villaraigosa faces no strong opposition in the city's March primary election, and the deadline for mayoral candidates to file has already passed. No other candidates would be allowed to run for mayor unless they were write-ins, according to city election officials.
Aside from Villaraigosa, 21 others have filed to run for mayor and have until Wednesday to gather enough signatures from registered voters in the city to qualify for the March ballot. Four candidates have qualified so far: Villaraigosa; attorney Walter Moore; legal assistant Carlos Alvarez; and union meat packer James Harris. Moore, who finished sixth in the 2005 mayoral race and is a regular on local talk radio, said he never believed the chitchat that Villaraigosa was destined for a Cabinet post. "I have more faith in Obama than that," Moore said.
Villaraigosa was the subject of cabinet speculation because he is sort of well-known and he is definitely Latino, and Obama forgot to appoint noted clown Bill Richardson to anything.