Mayors Seek to Make History in 2020 Presidential Election

July 16, 2018

No mayor has ever sprung directly from City Hall to the White House.

But that historic streak stands to be tested in 2020, with at least three Democratic mayors mulling presidential campaigns: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

They’re exploiting a newfound opening for politicians at the municipal level, one enabled by broader economic and cultural forces, among them the rise of the Democratic Party’s diverse and ascendant Obama coalition.

“Cities are powerful forces now; they’re almost like city-states,” said Henry Cisneros, who was mayor of San Antonio when, in 1984, he was interviewed to be Walter Mondale’s presidential running mate. “While it is perfectly plausible that a governor, even of a small state, can run for president … why isn’t it plausible that a mayor of a major, global epicenter of power like New York or Los Angeles or Chicago or Seattle or Miami shouldn’t be plausible at the presidential level?”

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