Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) announced Thursday he’ll run for California governor in 2018.
Villaraigosa’s announcement ends months of speculation about whether he’d jump in the race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who is expected to retire after this term. In a statement, Villaraigosa argued the stakes are higher than ever for California after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory Tuesday night.
“We are a state that builds bridges, not walls. We are inclusive. We celebrate our diversity. And we welcome newcomers,” he said in a statement. “We know the answer to fear is hope. The answer to division is unity. And the answer to the millions who feel they have no voice is to make sure they are always heard.”
Villaraigosa served as Los Angeles’ mayor from 2005 to 2013, following a long career in California’s state Assembly and a two-year stint as a member of the Los Angeles City Council. He’s gained some national attention for his ties to Hillary Clinton, and in 2012 served as the chairman of the Democratic National Convention. He also spoke at this year’s nominating convention.
The former mayor will have stiff competition in Gavin Newsom, California’s popular lieutenant governor who announced his candidacy in February 2015. State Treasurer John Chiang (D) and former state education official Delaine Eastin (D) are also running.
Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has also been floated as a potential candidate, but is reportedly having second thoughts after Trump’s win.