According to journalist Charles Feldman, the answer seems to be "yes."
To be fair, the Huffington Post contributor makes it clear all political predictions are suspect. Remember when everyone "predicted" Villaraigosa would run for governor in 2010?
With his disclaimer out of the way, Feldman indulges us with a little predicting:
...I believe that Villaraigosa will run for the US Senate in 2012. Already, there are some who are starting the drumbeat for this -- and, no, I am not one of them by virtue of writing this post. I am simply amplifying what I am already hearing and trying to explain why I think there is a good reason to believe that, this time, the outlook on Villaraigosa's political future will turn out to be an accurate one.
First and foremost, after Villaraigosa concludes his current term as mayor of Los Angeles, he would, politically, have no where else to go, having passed on his chance to run for governor in 2010. And, I just don't see someone with Villaraigosa's energy and ego (the first abundant; the second, huge) fading into the obscurity of some private sector job.
Villaraigosa's potential Senate run has one other big factor to consider: Current Sen. Dianne Feinstein. For the mayor to make his run, Feinstein needs to get out of the way, possibly through a gubernatorial run or her retirement, says Feldman.
But let's not bet the farm on his run just quite yet -- 2012 is still a long way off. Plus as a punditry safety net, if Villaraigosa doesn't make the run, Feldman did make it clear predictions are a "dangerous art." So true.