Damon Dunn
Damon Dunn

LONG BEACH — Next year's race for mayor of Long Beach has its first official candidate: Damon Dunn, a real estate investor and former NFL football player.

Dunn, who was the Republican nominee for Secretary of State in 2010, announced his candidacy in an email Tuesday.

"Since my campaign for Secretary of State, I have devoted a great amount of my time to my home city of Long Beach," Dunn said.

"During this time I have worked on several projects with civic leaders, and I have grown to understand the issues facing the city. After much thought and encouragement from several of these civic leaders, I have decided to run for mayor of Long Beach."

Dunn was born into poverty in Texas and worked to become a high school honor student and a first-team Academic All Pac-10 and first-team All Pac-10 at Stanford, where he played wide receiver. He played for the NFL from 1998-2001, including stints with the Jacksonville, Fla., Jaguars, the New York Jets, the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys.

He lived in Irvine when he ran unsuccessfully against Secretary of State Debra Bowen three years ago, finishing with 38.6 percent of the vote, before moving to Long Beach.

Mayor Bob Foster is in the middle of his second term, which expires in 2014.

Foster has said he is considering running for a third time, as a write-in, but has not publicly announced his decision.

Several current and former council members are mulling entering the mayoral race, but none have announced candidacies.

Born in 1976, Dunn joined the board of directors of the Long Beach Education Foundation in 2011 and helped raise money for the current school year to help middle school sports programs survive budget drawdowns.

He is also on the board of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and is a faculty fellow for the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership at Cal State Long Beach.

Dunn has launched a website for his mayoral run at www.damondunn.com.

eric.bradley@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2104, twitter.com/EricBradleyPT