Nov 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Karen Bass is first woman elected as LA mayor

Rep. Karen Bass is seen on election night at the Palladium in Hollywood. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) won the Los Angeles mayor’s race Wednesday against billionaire developer Rick Caruso, per AP.

Why it matters: Bass’ victory in the closely watched race between two ideologically opposed Democrats shows that LA voters prefer an institutional Democrat over a political outsider to solve the city’s homelessness crisis.

  • Much of their campaigns were centered around crime, homelessness and policing.

The big picture: Bass, 69, is the first woman elected mayor of Los Angeles and will be the second Black mayor to hold the position.

By the numbers: With 70% of the votes counted, Bass had a lead of nearly 47,000 votes.

Context: Bass has served six terms in Congress and was on Biden's shortlist for a running mate in 2020.

  • During the June primary, Bass finished with a seven-point lead but neither of the candidates received 50% of the vote and so they headed to a midterm runoff.
  • The tight race drew high-profile endorsements, with Bass being backed by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
  • Caruso, meanwhile, had a slew of celebrity endorsements, including from Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk.

Of note: Caruso, 63, spent more than $100 million of his own funds on his campaign — outspending Bass 11 to 1, per the Los Angeles Times.

  • He was a Republican before switching to an independent in 2011, and declaring himself a Democrat before entering the mayoral race earlier this year.
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