Hardline Democrat Takes Lead Over Former Republican In L.A. Mayoral Primary
Karen Bass at election night party Hollywood, CA - June 07: On stage with family, Karen Bass speaks at her election night party at the W Hotel on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 in Hollywood, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Brian van der Brug / Contributor
Brian van der Brug / Contributor/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) has taken a slight lead over former Republican Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayoral primary election, gaining ground after a surge of mail-in ballots were counted earlier this week.

The latest results revealed that Bass has 41% of the vote over Caruso, who has gotten 38% so far. However, there are still more than 350,000 votes that have not yet been tallied, and the final count might not be known for days or even weeks. 

The day after the June 7 election, Caruso, a former Republican running as a moderate Democrat, was slightly ahead of Bass, but last-minute mail-in votes boosted Bass and other hardline Democrats on the ballot.

Since neither Bass nor Caruso has received more than 50% of the votes required to avoid a runoff, it is expected that the two will face off in November’s general election.

This past weekend, Bass appeared on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show With Jonathan Capehart” and discussed the amount of money Caruso, a billionaire developer, has spent.

“You would have thought $40 million compared to $3 million, that I would have been wiped out,” Bass said.

After the Tuesday announcement, Anna Bahr, spokeswoman for the Bass campaign, told The Los Angeles Times, “Angelenos want a mission-driven, battle-tested leader with the proven experience of pulling people together to confront the crises we are facing.” 

Caruso spokesperson Peter Ragone said the campaign is “excited to accomplish our goal of making the runoff and giving voters a chance to clean up L.A.” 

“Voters will have a clear choice when they go to the polls between a career politician who just last week went on record saying she can’t fix the homelessness crisis and a leader who can clean up L.A. and deal with homelessness, crime and corruption,” Ragone said.

In 2020, Bass was considered as a possible running mate for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden. At the time, Bass pushed back on allegations that she was a communist or socialist after Republicans pointed out how she had visited Cuba several times and once spoken well of Fidel Castro after he died — comments she later took back.

“I’m not a socialist. I’m not a communist. I’ve belonged to one party my entire life and that’s the Democratic Party, and I’m a Christian,” Bass told NBC News.

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