Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) has won the election to be the next mayor of Los Angeles, beating businessman Rick Caruso, according to a projection.
The projection was made by DecisionDeskHQ on Wednesday, with Bass holding 53.06% of the vote and Caruso holding 46.94%. Both candidates were competing as Democrats to succeed Mayor Eric Garcetti, who couldn’t seek re-election due to term limits.
A congresswoman since 2013, 69-year-old Bass was backed heavily by the Democratic establishment, having garnered endorsements from President Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, among other big names. Caruso, a billionaire businessman who spent tens of millions on the race, campaigned as an outspoken law and order candidate and gained popularity among a number of high profile celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Crime has been a serious issue in the city. The number of shooting victims increased by 43% over 2020, the Los Angeles Police Department said in July. In the county, homicides increased 30% in 2020.
Caruso, 63, reportedly spent $62 million on the election, whereas Bass spent $6 million as of early October. The Los Angeles Times reported that he was set to spend over $100 million total by the end of the election cycle. A UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll in October showed that the race was closing between the two candidates. Bass led Caruso 34% to 31% for all voters.
Homelessness has also been a major issue in the city. Last year, a poll showed that almost 40% of voters in Los Angeles said homeless people in the areas they live made them feel unsafe. There were at least 69,144 homeless people each night in Los Angeles County, according to the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count published in September — 4.1% more than a 2020 tally.
Bass said she does not support the movement to “defund the police.” She has been against the “defund the police” phrase since 2020, but has said she thought police budgets could be brought down if areas didn’t depend on law enforcement to address problems that are not within their practice.
Caruso pushed for community policing when he was president of the Police Commission, which is an approach where police officers work in a specific region to connect better with the people who live and work there. He also put responsibility on Mayor Garcetti for the lack of police officers.
“You also have to have zero-tolerance, and you have to hold people accountable for that crime,” Caruso said in the debate. “If it’s a misdemeanor, it has to be held accountable by our city attorney or our district attorney.”
“Not all communities want to see an increase in police presence,” Bass said. “That is not a solution in a lot of communities. A lot of communities want to see a serious investment in crime prevention and intervention strategies.”
Caruso and Bass have both discussed the housing issue in the Los Angeles area and say that overcrowding is a main factor resulting in homelessness.