Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
Created: 07/27/2010 03:49:10 PM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Last Thursday, Councilman Rex Gutierrez mulled a mayoral run, pulling papers just before City Hall closed for a three-day weekend.

On Monday, he changed his mind.

“As fun as it would be, I don’t know if I want to do it knowing the odds are stacked against me,” Gutierrez said.

Viewed by many as the most colorful and polarizing personality on the City Council, Gutierrez will instead seek re-election to his seat.

The councilman said he doesn’t have the financial backing to seek the mayor’s seat and wants to focus his energy on other things.

“I have a new business to worry about and my family,” Gutierrez said, referring to his new publication, Vineyard Press. “And I have this legal
Gutierrez case. … There’s too many battles to fight.”

Gutierrez, 50, faces a retrial in a criminal case tied to his tenure at the San Bernardino County Assessor’s Office. A jury deadlocked on three felony counts in June. The councilman said his new trial should begin in September.

Councilman Dennis Michael and Bill Hanlon have pulled papers to run for Mayor Don Kurth’s seat.

Gutierrez said Michael, who has received key endorsements from the firefighters and sheriff’s unions, would make an “awesome mayor.”

“I don’t really have any negative things to say about Dennis Michael,” Gutierrez said.

Councilwoman Diane Williams, Kurth and Gutierrez are all up for re-election in November.

Gutierrez has been itching to run for higher office for some time. In 2009, his hopes of succeeding then-Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Rancho Cucamonga, were dashed when allegations tied Gutierrez to the Assessor’s Office scandal.

Gutierrez said running for mayor would take more energy and money than trying to keep his seat. The cash-strapped councilman said he was forced to tap into his retirement savings this year to pay for his legal defense, which he said has totaled almost $100,000.

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