California this year votes on a U.S. senator, state lawmakers and a boatload of ballot measures, but races are already underway for the Los Angeles mayoral election next year and a new governor in the following year.
In 2017, Mayor Eric Garcetti will be defending his seat against multiple challengers. Five candidates so far have declared their intentions to try and unseat him.
Campaign finance numbers out this week show Garcetti has already amassed a large warchest. He’s collected more than $2.2 million in contributions through Dec. 31, including donations from labor, business and individuals. His contenders were still at zero as of the end-of-year filing.
Garcetti's opponents are relatively little known, but one has a higher profile than the others — one-time Obama campaign staffer Mitchell Schwartz, who most recently joined the group.
Schwartz formerly worked at Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club. In the past, he's worked for former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign as well as those of Al Gore and Bill Clinton.
Green Dot Charter Schools founder Steve Barr has also signaled he may run against Garcetti. Barr is reported to be weighing a mayoral bid, citing the Garcetti's seeming disinterest in educational issues.
And 2018 seems even farther away, but you’ve probably heard Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is aiming to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown. So far, there are three other candidates who’ve filed to run for the state’s top job.
California State Treasurer John Chiang has also said he's interested in running for governor. Moreover, a recent early poll reportedly conducted by Newsom's campaign found considerable support for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Villaraigosa, both of whom have not officially filed papers to run.
Newsom has already landed a major labor endorsement from the California Nurses Association, but with many more months to campaign, no doubt more endorsements have yet to come.