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Austin Beutner confirms his exit from L.A. mayor's race

May 8, 2012 |  1:51 pm

Austin Beutner

Former investment banker Austin Beutner has confirmed that he is abandoning his bid for Los Angeles mayor. In an email to supporters Tuesday afternoon, Beutner said he is dropping out of the race to spend more time with his family.

"It's a 110% commitment to be a candidate," Beutner said in an interview. "I don’t want to look back and wish I had spent more time with my kids."

He said his weak showing in recent opinion polls did not prompt the decision. A survey last month by the Center for the Study of Los Angeles found that only 2% of voters who had an opinion about the mayor's race said they would vote for him.

Beutner said he had been prepared to use his personal wealth to introduce himself to voters. "Name ID is relatively easy to buy and we had the resources to buy it," he said. "But it’s all about where I am right now, and where I need to be is with my family. "

Beutner, a one-time economic advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was seen by many as a business community alternative in a political landscape where public employee and service unions hold enormous sway. Observers say his departure could encourage another wealthy business and civic leader, mall developer Rick Caruso, to jump into the race. Or it could draw another pro-business contender into an election still nearly a year away.

"It clearly makes any decision by Rick Caruso much easier," said former Mayor Richard Riordan, an early Beutner backer.

Beutner said he hopes to stay involved in the race and plans eventually to endorse a candidate, although he does not yet know who. The front-runners so far include City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry. Former talk radio host Kevin James is also campaigning, and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is weighing a run.

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-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall

twitter.com/katelinthicum

 Photo: Austin Beutner. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

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