Mayor Robert Garcia forms committee for lieutenant governor race in 2026

Mayor Robert Garcia has formed a committee to raise money for a possible run for lieutenant governor in 2026, according to the Secretary of State website.

There has been much speculation about the future plans of Garcia, 41, who is in his second term as mayor. A charter amendment passed by voters last fall would allow him to run for a third term as mayor, with that term ending in 2026.

Mark Taylor, chief of staff for the mayor, said in a statement that the committee was formed because state law requires candidates to terminate committees for races that have ended within one year. It is not uncommon for a candidate to form a new committee to roll over any funds from the previous campaign; the other option would be to donate or return the funds.

Garcia didn’t form a new committee for his likely 2022 run for a third term as mayor because the city election cycle starts a year in advance, Taylor said. The earliest he could form such a committee would be 2021, per city code.

Records show Garcia has about $141,000 in a previous committee he formed for mayor in 2018, a race he won in a landslide.

Taylor said in the statement the mayor has “made no final decisions about his future and is looking forward to continuing his work as Mayor of Long Beach. He loves our city and our state.”

The current lieutenant governor in California is Eleni Kounalakis, who was elected in 2018. She would be termed out in 2026.

A political consultant who spoke on background said it would make sense for the mayor to form a committee for a seat that is held by someone who will be termed out, so as not to threaten any politician who currently holds office and is not affected by term limits.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include information about why the mayor could not form a committee for a 2022 run for mayor.

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.