The mayoral candidate that Los Angeles magazine aptly termed “the unpolitician,” has folded his tent and withdrawn from the race. It’s a pity, because Austin Beutner brought a rare freshness to the Los Angeles political scene, though for big-city politics he brought very little name recognition.

Beutner’s profile raised somewhat when he was appointed first deputy mayor by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and charged with heading the office of Economic and Business Policy. The job carried immense power, and some said Beutner practically ran the city during his 15-month tenure.

“Hardly anyone in L.A. has heard of Austin Beutner,” said the Los Angeles magazine article.” But for more than a year he has been arguably the most powerful person in the city–so powerful that some say he has eclipsed his boss, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.”

As first deputy mayor, Beutner’s role was to do whatever was necessary to improve the business climate in Los Angeles, and he did that by cutting red tape and stepping on a few toes in the process. He certainly did not look kindly on some City Council members, whom he thought spent too much time debating their own navels while major city problems went unsolved.

Beutner was considered a viable candidate, partly because he has powerful friends and is himself very wealthy. He made his mark on Wall Street early, becoming a partner at the Blackstone Group by age 29. Within four years he had made “enough money not to have to work for the rest of my life,” he was quoted as saying. At that point, he took a break and worked two years in Russia for the State Department during the Clinton administration.

When he returned in 1996, he founded the investment bank Evercore Partners, which reportedly made him more than $100 million, when it went public in 2006.

But Beutner’s quiet, unpolitical demeanor did not lend itself to the grueling run for mayor where politics can get down and dirty. That may be one of the reasons Beutner wrote in his letter to friends and supporters on Tuesday:
“While everything I’ve learned exploring the possibility has reinforced my view of how much our city needs leadership who will solve problems, it has also reminded me of my responsibilities as a husband and father.

“I am grateful to you and the many other people who have supported this effort with your thoughts, efforts and resources. It has been a privilege to work with old friends and make so many new ones. I owe a special thanks to those who made an effort to ask their friends, colleagues and neighbors to engage with us. We will return all of the money contributed to our campaign and hope you feel your time has made a difference. Together, we raised the dialogue and started a real conversation in Los Angeles about the need to do things differently.”

But leaving the race for mayor is apparently not goodbye:
“I intend to keep working to make a difference in our community,” said Beutner’s letter of withdrawal. “We can’t settle for the same old promises only to find nothing gets done. We face tough choices ahead, and we’ll need elected leadership who will make the right ones.”

Councilman Eric Garcetti, another mayoral candidate, offered this statement:
“Through his nonprofit work, his public service and his candidacy, Austin has elevated the debate around jobs, reform and the need to move every Los Angeles community forward. I know he will continue to contribute a strong voice to the civic discussion and I wish him and his family the best.”