The positioning ahead of next year’s Democratic presidential race is getting downright frenetic, but some things are starting to become clear.
One is that the field will be large and diverse, both in terms of gender and race. Another is that there will definitely be at least one city-level chief executive in the mix, quite possibly more than one.
Of Mitch Landrieu’s potential rivals in the mayoral mini-primary, one is in, one is out, one is on the fence.
In is Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. He’s anything but a household name, but he’s got an interesting profile. Just 37, Buttigieg is an openly gay Afghanistan veteran and Rhodes Scholar.
Out is Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, who announced this week that he’d rather finish out the job at home.
Still actively exploring is Michael Bloomberg, the wealthy former Republican mayor of New York, who has been to New Hampshire twice and is already criticizing the field’s more economically progressive Democrats and Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO who is looking at an independent bid.
Landrieu, who finished up his second term as New Orleans mayor last year, has kept a low profile in comparison, although he did pop up in prime time on MSNBC last week. He’s spending some time this spring at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and working on a project to talk about racial reconciliation.
He hasn’t closed the door on a run, but is starting to stand out in a field in which so many people aren’t waiting. Then again, Landrieu was a late entry into the mayoral election back in 2010, after he assessed the rest of the field and spotted an opening. That worked out pretty well for him.