Billionaire developer Rick Caruso and former Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., will move on from California’s primary and face off in November to serve as Los Angeles’ next mayor, as the two candidates secured the top two spots in the states primary Tuesday, the Associated Press called.
In California’s primary system, the candidates appear on the same ballot and the top two winners move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. Caruso won 31% of the vote to Bass’ 39% at the time the AP called the race.
Caruso is a pro-business billionaire developer who’s running a law-and-order type campaign. A former Republican who became a Democrat just before launching his mayoral bid, Caruso’s dished out tens of millions of his own money to finance his campaign and to flood Los Angeles with ads that spotlight his pledges for quick action to stem what he calls a city in decay.
Bass is a former state lawmaker who’s spent the past decade representing a congressional district that covers areas south and west of downtown Los Angeles, was on President Biden’s short list for running mate during the 2020 presidential election.
She’s backed by many in the city’s Democratic establishment, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Californian, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking Democrat in the chamber. She also is supported by some big Hollywood names, among them Steven Spielberg, filmmaker J.J. Abrams and actress Jennifer Garner.
Caruso was recently endorsed by Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk. And he has his share of backing from the entertainment world, including actress and businesswoman Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian and rapper Snoop Dogg.
Bass and her allies in recent weeks have spotlighted Caruso’s history of backing GOP candidates and causes, and have linked Caruso to former President Donald Trump, who remains very unpopular in Los Angeles.
Pushing back, Caruso told Variety two weeks ago that he’s “the farthest thing from Donald Trump and everybody knows that. What we’re seeing is an act of desperation, and they’re trying to throw Hail Mary’s and nobody’s buying it.”
The winner in November will succeed term-limited Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose nomination by Biden to serve as U.S. ambassador to India is currently stalled.
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