With so many other Democrats moving forward while he’s hung back, it’s been looking for a while as if former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is taking himself out of contention for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Or out-ish, anyway.
Wednesday morning, he made it official. Or at least official-ish.
When CNN’s John Berman asked whether Landrieu would put his best foot forward, Landrieu responded: “I don’t think so.” While he said he never says never, Landrieu told Berman that “at this point in time, I don’t think I’m going to do it.” Berman quickly noted that the statement was more definitive than what Landrieu’s had to say before, and Landrieu didn’t contradict him on the point.
He did quickly pivot to the rest of the ever-growing field of announced and possible candidates, though, singling out former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and “the congressman from Texas” — that would be Beto O’Rourke — as people who could appeal to some of the same voters. And he threw in a shout-out to Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who did a “spectacular job” responding to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Tuesday night, Landrieu said.
Now, students of New Orleans politics might take even this direct a declaration with a grain of salt. Back in 2010, Landrieu said he wouldn’t run for mayor, then changed his mind and won handily.
And students of Landrieu would have no reason to doubt that he meant it when he said any of the candidates would be an improvement over Trump. They might also note that Landrieu has good reason to talk the entire field up; less than two years from now, any one of them could be looking to hire cabinet secretaries.