Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will not run for California's open Senate seat, he announced in a Tuesday Facebook post. Villaraigosa's decision surprised California and Washington, D.C. operatives, who until recently said he was leaning toward running to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
"I am humbled by the encouragement I’ve received from so many to serve in the United States Senate. But as I think about how best to serve the people of this great state, I know that my heart and my family are here in California, not Washington, D.C.," Villaraigosa wrote in the post. "I have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate."
Though Villaraigosa is relatively well-known in southern California, a handful of baseline polls showed him trailing California Attorney General Kamala Harris , a Democrat who announced her Senate bid days after Boxer's retirement.
While Villaraigosa mulled the race, Harris quickly secured endorsements from well-known elected officials including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey — popular figures among Democrats.
What's more, Villaraigosa's exit could leave some Democrats searching for a Hispanic candidate in a state with a burgeoning population.
Reps. Xavier Becerra and Loretta Sanchez continue to mull bids for Senate. As House members, both start with small geographical bases in the Golden State.
This race is rated Safe Democrat by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
Related Stories: Roll Call's Guide to the Most Clever Leadership PAC Names When Activists Run for Office Senators Confirm Re-Election Bids for 2016 Why California Members May Think Twice About Running for Senate The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.