Antonio Villaraigosa’s dream of being rewarded with a Cabinet post for his yeoman job wooing a record number of Latino votes for President Barack Obama’s re-election has ended in disappointment for the Los Angeles mayor.
Villaraigosa has effectively taken his name from consideration, even as supporters in California—including U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer—waged a campaign on his behalf.
But Antonio Villaraigosa has issued a statement ending that talk, saying he will serve out his term as mayor until the end of June.
“Yes, you could read this as probably meaning that Villaraigosa got word from Camp Obama that he would not be getting a desirable cabinet appointment in the next five months,” wrote Kevin Roderick of LAObserved.com, which many have come to regard as the Bible of Los Angeles happenings.
And The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney, the paper’s former national political correspondent and now its bureau chief in Los Angeles, concluded on Twitter “that (Villaraigosa) will serve out term means White House likely told him no cabinet job for now.”
Although some feared that a Villaraigosa nomination could be troublesome in confirmation, his chances seemed to have risen with the absence of any Hispanics on the Obama Cabinet after the recent departures of two Latino members.
Antonio Villaraigosa, 60, was also on the short list presented to the White House last month by a group of Latino leaders.
But there had been rumblings among conservatives and Tea Party groups of pressing their opposition to the Los Angeles mayor before the Senate.
On its Web site, one rightwing group has long rallied against Villaraigosa for his Chicano activism, while a college student, as well as his support of immigrant’s rights.
Villaraigosa’s divorce, caused by a scandalous affair with a TV anchor in 2007, coincided with a downslide of his popularity in Los Angeles, especially among Latinas.
“Villaraigosa’s life is a disaster and he’s proven that he can’t get it together,” wrote the PR News Channel blog. “It would be an unnecessary risk for the administration to go in that direction. Villaraigosa’s personal life is a train wreck.”
In his statement, Villaraigosa said he was staying put and finishing his second term as mayor.
“I have said many times that I will be focused on my job as mayor of Los Angeles until 11:59 and 59 seconds on June 30, 2013,” Villaraigosa said.
“I am flattered and humbled by the speculation that has included my name for a possible Cabinet secretary position, but I am firmly committed to remaining in L.A. and finishing my term.”