Karen Bass elected as LA's new mayor, first woman in post

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Thursday, November 17, 2022
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U.S. Rep. Karen Bass has defeated developer Rick Caruso to become the next mayor of Los Angeles, making her the first woman to lead the city.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- U.S. Rep. Karen Bass has defeated developer Rick Caruso to become the next mayor of Los Angeles, making her the first woman to lead the city, ABC News projected Wednesday.

With more than 70% of the vote tallied, Bass had amassed an insurmountable lead of nearly 47,000 votes. She had 53.1%, with Caruso notching 46.9%.

Bass, who is the second Black person to be elected as mayor of the city, was working in her congressional office in Los Angeles when she was informed by an aide she had won the race. Bass later released a statement, saying she will "hit the ground running on Day One."

"This evening, I received a gracious call from Rick Caruso, who is someone who I hope continues his civic participation in the city that we both love. I have great respect for his commitment to serving the people of Los Angeles," Bass' statement said. "The people of Los Angeles have sent a clear message: it is time for change and it is time for urgency."

"To the people of Los Angeles, my message is this: We are going to solve homelessness. We are going to prevent and respond urgently to crime," Bass said. "Los Angeles is no longer going to be unaffordable for working families - good jobs and affordable housing construction are on the way. And know this - that work has already begun."

Caruso said in a statement that "the voters have spoken," adding that he was proud of his campaign.

"There will be more to come from the movement we built, but for now, as a city we need to unite around Mayor-elect Bass and give her the support she needs to tackle the many issues we face. Congratulations, Karen, and God-speed," the statement said in part.

Bass - a Democrat who was on President Joe Biden's short list for vice president - overcame more than $100 million in spending by the billionaire Caruso's campaign while arguing that she would be a coalition builder who could heal a troubled city of nearly 4 million.

The election tested whether voters in the heavily Democratic city were willing to turn away from their liberal tendencies and embrace an approach that would place a strong emphasis on public safety.

Caruso, a former Republican who became a Democrat shortly before entering the race, had represented a turn to the political right. He argued that Bass and other longtime politicians were part of the problem who led L.A. into multiple crises. He promised to expand the police department to deal with rising crime rates and quickly get ubiquitous homeless encampments off the streets.

Bass, a former state Assembly leader, had the advantage of being a lifelong Democrat in a city where Republicans are almost invisible. She was backed by Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Democratic establishment.

The election had historical dimensions, as Bass will become the first woman and second Black person to hold the job, after former Mayor Tom Bradley, who held the post from 1973 to 1993.

She takes office next month as the city contends with an out-of-control homeless crisis and City Council faces a racism scandal that led to the resignation of its former president and calls for the resignation of two more members.

Bass will replace Eric Garcetti, who will conclude two terms as mayor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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