Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will not run for president.
Garcetti, 46, had been openly mulling the possibility of a bid, traveling to early presidential nominating states Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and hiring a South Carolina Democratic operative.
But Garcetti will not go through with a bid, he announced Tuesday at a press conference at Los Angeles City Hall.
"So I have decided not to throw my hat into the ring to run for president in 2020," he told reporters. He added that it was not an easy decision, but that it is "such an honor to work at the local level."
He added that he feels "more secure" in his decision not to run given the Democrats who have already moved toward a campaign. Asked specifically about California Sen. Kamala Harris and her candidacy, Garcetti said he was proud of her and excited for her campaign but that her decision to run did not impact his decision not to.
Garcetti was elected to his second term as mayor in 2017. He is serving a five-and-a-half-year term, an unusually long tenure resulting from a change to Los Angeles’s election calendar. Some Democrats had raised questions about his ability to uphold his duties as mayor while campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president.
He had been hinting at national ambitions for months, including just last week in Washington. In a keynote speech to the US Conference of Mayors, Garcetti took a victory lap over his handling of LA’s six-day teachers' strike and the negotiations that brought it to an end. “I did what mayors do,“ he said. “When we see a problem, we jump in, and we fix it.” Asked about his future plans after the speech, he told reporters, “stay tuned.”
Los Angeles's City Hall is also at the center of an FBI corruption probe, in which no charges have yet been filed. A Garcetti appointee resigned earlier this month after being named in a federal search warrant.
While no one has ever made the leap directly from being mayor to become president, Garcetti is not the only current mayor to have flirted with the idea. South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has already formed a presidential exploratory committee.
Garcetti joins a small group of Democrats who have now said they will not run, relative to the ever-expanding number joining the race. Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick decided against a campaign last year and California billionaire Tom Steyer announced earlier this month that he would stay out of the race, at least for now.