LA Mayor Contest Between U.S. Rep. and Real Estate Developer A Horse Race
At the rate some things progress in Southern California, a projected winner in the Los Angeles mayoral race may not be known for weeks, as votes trickle in by mail and continue to be tallied.
But, with 44 percent of the total votes in Wednesday morning, billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso was holding a slight 51.25 percent to 48.75 percent lead over United States Representative Karen Bass (D-CA)
The neck-and-neck nonpartisan race is a remarkable turnaround for Caruso, who had been down in the polls by 12 points in early September.
In the wake of a number of public scandals that plagued Bass, including accusations she accepted a scholarship from the University of Southern California in exchange for passing key legislation, Caruso — a registered Democrat who was previously registered as an Independent and Republican before that — was able to erase Bass’ formidable advantage through spending tens of millions of dollars in campaign ads, heading extended outreach efforts into the Latino community and making himself available for a flurry of in-person visits throughout the city’s neighborhoods. Bass reportedly still had a 3-point advantage at the start of October — which all but evaporated after the release of a racist audio recording implicating three members of the city council. in the last few weeks of the election, Bass and Caruso ended up in a virtual tie in final polls.
Speaking from his viewing party Election Night at The Grove, one of his high-profile developments in West Los Angeles, Caruso said he was optimistic, though he’s already decided not to run for the mayor’s office again, whether he wins or loses this time around.
“The wonderful thing I never knew as a candidate, when you’re running for mayor, is that you develop a larger family alongside the people that you would never have met in communities, because we’ve all come together for a cause. And that’s a very uplifting thing,” said Caruso in a report by Calmatters. “We don’t know the outcome yet, but I’m happy to say that we’re starting out strong.”
Early Wednesday morning, Caruso tweeted he’s “proud to have earned the hundreds of thousands of votes from Angelenos who are ready for change. I am confident that once every vote is counted, the momentum we saw throughout this campaign will send me to the Mayor’s office to fight for all Angelenos. For now, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to my family, our campaign staff, and to you – Angelenos who showed your support, donated your time, & gave us your vote.
Together, he added on Twitter, “I know that we have the power, and the plans, to end street homelessness, stop corruption, and finally get to work building a brighter future for LA — one where every Angeleno can thrive.”
Endorsements from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris couldn’t keep the Bass campaign from losing the moths of forward momentum it had built up. Her campaign did appear to slow it’s backwards movement with a series of campaign appearances and announcements of support by a list of prominent Democrats in the weeks before the election. Her message of taking the city in a new direction, along with the distinction of perhaps becoming the first female and second Black mayor of Los Angeles, appeared to reinvigorate Bass and her supporters
Speaking from her election watch party Tuesday night at the historic Hollywood Palladium theater, Bass, like Caruso, showed optimism that she would win the race.
“We have a vision for this city. We wanted a campaign that looked like Los Angeles,” Bass said. “That looks like this room. A campaign that reflected the hope, the diversity, and the brilliance of our city. A vision of our city moving in a new direction. A city that pulls out all the stops. We will win, because we are going to build a new Los Angeles.”
In her own post-part tweeting, Bass added, “We won’t know the final result of the election tonight, but we do know that we made history with our movement. Thank you Los Angeles!”