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After Garcetti – Who Will Lead Los Angeles?

Eric Garcetti, Mayor, Ambassador to India

After President Joe Biden nominated Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as Ambassador to India, one important question arose: who will be next in line to lead Los Angeles?

Mayor Garcetti long grappled with pressing social and economic issues during his time in office. They ranged from the burgeoning homelessness crisis, to housing unaffordability, to public transportation, and, most recently, COVID-19.

If confirmed, Garcetti will depart his post as Mayor, topping off an already long and turbulent political moment in Los Angeles' history. The decision about who will follow Garcetti will be an important one, and will influence the trajectory of the City's re-opening and economic recovery efforts.

To help answer this question, below are a list of scenarios and possible mayoral successors.

1. Council President Nury fills the vacancy

Under the City's charter, the current City Council President, Nury Martinez, would immediately assume the Mayoral vacancy in the short-term.

Although the Council may collectively decide to select another successor as described below, the process could take several weeks - even months. Until a decision is made, Nury will continue to serve as Mayor.

However, with Councilmember Martinez considering a 'serious' run for the Mayor's office in 2022, the situation could get complicated.

2. Council may appoint mayor, or hold a special election

Furthermore, another options involves having the City Council to either to call for a special election to fill the vacancy. Similarly, the Council could circumvent a special election by appointing Interim Mayor to serve out the duration of Garcetti's term.

Due to costs and timing, a special election would likely be difficult to facilitate. Considering that Garcetti's term is set to expire on December 12th, 2022, the Council would likely be hesitant to hold a City-wide special election.

It's also important to note that if the Council decides to appoint Nury as interim mayor, her council seat will be considered vacant. In this case, another special election will take place.

3. Other possible candidates to consider

Though Garcetti is likely to be confirmed by the Senate, the nomination process could take up to several months. Until that actually happens, several candidates may consider throwing their hat into the ring.

Notable figures include Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Kevin de Leon, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Representative Karen Bass, businessman Rick Caruso, and LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner.

The Council is not only able to select an Interim Mayor from the Council; in fact, it may elect to choose one of the candidates considering a run for the Mayor's office.

The Primary for the Mayor's race is scheduled for June 7th, 2022, and the general election is set for November 8th, 2022.

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