Call him The Deficinator.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa may be out to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger – but not before bailing out the City of Angels.
Interviewed Monday on BlogTalkRadio’s USMayorTime, live from from the 77th Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, in Providence, R.I., Villaraigosa shared his thoughts on mounting a campaign for the California Governor’s seat.
That seat is currently occupied, of course, by “Governator” Schwarzenegger. But the one-time action hero’s second – and final – term ends in January 2011, meaning the race to Sacramento could get under way as soon as this fall.
“When you’re mayor of a city like mine – with a budget deficit – you gotta keep your eye on the ball,” Villaraigosa, 56, told host Tom Cochran.
“So my focus right now is on my job as mayor. I’ve said to people I’ll look at the issue of running for [governor] down the line. But not until we’ve appropriately handled the challenges that we’re facing here with this budget.
“So I’m hoping to get it behind us so we can look at the governorship.”
One issue that could hinder a trajectory to the state capital is the mayor’s relationship with Miss USA 1994, Lu Parker.
Still married to, though long separated from, wife Corina, Villaraigosa began getting cozy with Parker – now a news anchor with CW affiliate KTLA-TV in L.A. – three months ago.
“I don’t think it’s going to have any impact whatsoever,” the mayor told reporters last week of his liaison with the 36-year-old former beauty queen.
Nonetheless, say plotical pundits, the voting public may still be smarting from the 2007 revelation that Villaraigosa was then dating another local TV news anchor, Mirthala Salinas.
“It reminds people of naughty behavior, if you like,” Shawn Rosenberg, a political science professor at the University of California, recently told the L.A. Times.
“It would have less of an impact if it didn’t remind of other things.”
To hear Mayor Villaraigosa’s full interview, click here.