Garcetti: honored to be named among possible Clinton VP choices, but focused on reelection

FILE: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at an event in downtown Los Angeles.
FILE: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at an event in downtown Los Angeles.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he is focused on his plans to seek a second term, although he's honored to be named by The Wall Street Journal among possible vice presidential candidates for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

At an event for Los Angeles County mayors in Burbank Thursday, Garcetti said he has not been contacted by Clinton’s team and was surprised to be in the newspaper's list of potential running mates. 

"I’m not looking for a new job. I have a great job right now. I’m running for reelection and that’s what I’m focused on," he told reporters.

Garcetti's political consultant earlier in the day batted away suggestions raised in The Wall Street Journal story that the mayor is on a short list of potential vice presidential candidate choices.

Bill Carrick, who handles Garcetti's campaign activity, labeled Wednesday's Wall Street Journal article as "false speculation." "There’s nothing going on," he said.

Garcetti echoed those statements at the Burbank event, where he was greeted by a flock of reporters on his arrival. He side-stepped questions regarding how he would respond if Clinton called and asked him to be her running mate.

He emphasized he is focused on his reelection, but reiterated his support for Clinton.

"I'm also focused on helping out however I can, as I have been throughout this campaign, to make sure that we don't divide ourselves by differences in where we come from or where our parents come from, whom we love, how we worship God," he said. 

The Wall Street Journal list of prospective candidates also included Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.

Prominently missing from the list was Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's primary rival who has not yet endorsed her.

The paper attributed the suggested names to "several Democrats."

Becerra, first elected to the U.S. House in 1992, represents the 34th congressional district covering downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, Chinatown and Eagle Rock. He is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and sits on the influential House Committee on Ways and Means.

Garcetti's candidacy could be considered a long shot since he has no significant national experience and California is not seen as a state that Clinton needs to spend political capital on. She is widely seen to have a solid lock on the state moving into the general election.

The latest numbers from the Secretary of State's office show she defeated Sanders by nearly 11 percentage points in California's primary last week.

Although Garcetti endorsed Obama in his 2007 campaign against Clinton and served as one of Obama's state co-chairs, he's campaigning for Clinton this year and appeared alongside her at pre-primary events in the Los Angeles area. 

Garcetti made headlines in November when his staff retracted his endorsement announcement for Clinton that he said was mistakenly sent from the mayor's office instead of through his campaign staff. The mayor's endorsement stood, but the episode was seen as a gaffe.