Jun 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

LA's mayoral race heads to runoff

Side by side image of Rick Caruso and Karen Bass.
Photos: Unique Nicole and Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and billionaire developer Rick Caruso are headed to a November runoff in the nationally watched race to become Los Angeles' next mayor, per the Associated Press.

Driving the news: Bass and Caruso emerged in recent weeks as the front-runners in the crowded primary, drawing high-profile endorsements and both candidates spending massive sums of money on advertising.

  • No candidate received the 50% needed to avoid a runoff, but Bass and Caruso finished as the top two.

The big picture: LA's mayoral race has provided a window into one of the country's top Democratic power centers — and whether voters may be willing to embrace a former Republican as their next mayor, Axios' Hans Nichols reports.

  • Caruso, 63, who has developed some of LA's popular shopping venues, currently sits on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. He was a Republican before switching to an independent in 2011.
  • Caruso declared himself a Democrat this year before entering the mayoral race.
  • Caruso has made crime and homelessness centerpieces of his campaign and racked up a number of celebrity endorsements, including Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk.

Bass, 68, was on President Biden's shortlist of running mates in 2020 and has served six terms in Congress.

  • She was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and was also the first Black woman to serve as state Assembly speaker, the Washington Post reports.
  • Her campaign has spent about $1 million in television ads likening Caruso to former President Trump, an approach some strategists say has not been effective.

What to watch: Bass and Caruso will face off in a runoff election on Nov. 8.

Go deeper... Why L.A. mayor’s race matters

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