From the LA Times
SACRAMENTO — Antonio Villaraigosa arrived in his old Capitol stamping grounds this week as California Democrats' best asset — a handsome, popular mayor blessed with rapidly burgeoning national name recognition.
Amid the adulation on the mayor's two-day victory tour here, some Democrats were a little wistful for a candidacy that probably will not be — at least not anytime soon.
Democratic activists are looking for someone to knock off Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger next year. The maverick Republican once seemed invincible but is now suffering a spate of low poll numbers. On Tuesday, Villaraigosa insisted that it won't be him.
"I'm like a kid in a candy store right now — I love being mayor of the city that I was born in, raised in, that my grandpa came to 100 years ago," Villaraigosa said. "I'm going to be mayor of the city of Los Angeles for the next four years."
That announcement was unsurprising to Democratic insiders. They understand that Villaraigosa, who didn't complete his term as a city councilman, needs to fulfill his commitment in Los Angeles. But some also feel that the current candidates — Steve Westly, the state controller, and Phil Angelides, the state treasurer — lack the mayor's A-list charisma.
To them, Villaraigosa seems like a wasted chance.
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