LOS ANGELES—A few months ago, Eric Garcetti met with a well-connected Democrat—the type whom people planning presidential campaigns have spent the past year talking to. The Los Angeles mayor, who’s in the final stages of deciding whether to run for the White House, talked up his ideas for a campaign. They chitchatted. Then Garcetti, as he always does to be polite, asked for advice.
The response: “Resign.”
“It’s common sense,” said the person who’d spoken to Garcetti, asking not to be identified because the meeting was private. “You can’t run a city and run for president at the same time, especially when the city is on the West Coast and Iowa and New Hampshire are in the Midwest and East Coast.”
This wasn’t the first time someone had suggested to Garcetti that he should quit his job if he really wants to focus on a presidential run. And it wasn’t the last.
According to people who’ve been in meetings between Garcetti and party power brokers, he lets the conversation move on whenever the subject of resignation comes up, just as he did that day a few months ago. He has never taken the idea of quitting seriously.
But as he’s gotten closer to a decision on whether to run, he and his team of advisers—both political and governmental—have begun building a plan for what to do if he’s out stumping in Cedar Rapids or Charleston. Security will have to be adjusted, because as mayor he’s protected by the Los Angeles Police Department wherever he goes. His regular Monday-afternoon meeting with the general managers of city agencies might be shifted to a shorter daily phone call or video conference. And the idea has been floated of the campaign paying for a city worker to travel with him, facilitating government operations with the chief executive when he’s out of town.