LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer.
In a message posted Tuesday on his Facebook page, Villaraigosa said he was "humbled" by the encouragement he received to run for the Senate, but "I know that my heart and my family are here in California, not Washington, D.C."
"I have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate and instead continue my efforts to make California a better place to live, work and raise a family," he said in the message. "We have come a long way, but our work is not done, and neither am I."
Villaraigosa, 62, did not specifically say whether he still plans to run for governor, a post in which he has expressed interest in the past. Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was also weighing a run for Boxer's seat but backed out, has already announced plans to run for governor.
Villaraigosa's statement, however, had the flavor of a campaign speech, noting he was thinking "about how best to serve the people of this great state."
"I have worked hard to create solutions to the important issues facing our state," he said. "A quality education that prepares our kids to compete in the global economy, good-paying jobs for all Californians, access to affordable health care and a strategy to combat the crisis of global climate change, are the issues that keep me fighting for the people of California."
Villaraigosa's decision not to run for the Senate seat in June 2016 leaves Attorney General Kamala Harris as the only major candidate in the race to succeed Boxer, who said she will not seek re-election.
"Mayor Villaraigosa and I have been friends and colleagues for many years," Harris said. "The city of Los Angeles, and our state and nation, have benefited greatly from his leadership. I know he has much more to offer. I wish him and his family all the best."
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, has also said he is considering a run for the seat, saying the "opportunity to run for a California Senate seat comes around very seldom." Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer had also been weighing a bid, but opted against running.
Villaraigosa, a former Assemblyman and Assembly Speaker, served two terms as Los Angeles mayor, from 2005-13.
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