(WASHINGTON) — California Rep. Karen Bass is projected to win her campaign to become Los Angeles’ mayor, ABC News reports.
Bass will be the first woman and second Black person, after Tom Bradley, to hold the office. She had appeared to be in a close race against the billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso, a former registered Republican who campaigned as an outsider better able to address the city’s pressing issues, including public safety and homelessness.
But Bass, a former state Assembly speaker with endorsements from national Democrats including Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden, who had also considered picking Bass to be his No. 2, bet on a winning coalition from L.A., the country’s second-largest city and the center of the largest Democratic state in the country.
“We are in a fight for the soul of our city,” Bass said on election night. “We will win because we are going to build a new Los Angeles.”
With 76% of the expected vote reporting as of Wednesday, Bass leads with 53% of the vote compared to Caruso with 47%. As more mail votes have been counted, Bass’ lead has grown after she and Caruso were essentially tied during the initial returns last week.
Bass is finishing out her sixth term in Congress and is a member of the House Foreign Affairs and House Judiciary committees. She was also the author of a major piece of House legislation to change policing laws in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
Caruso, by contrast, had mounted a competitive campaign as the more centrist option.
He drew a slew of notable celebrity endorsements — from Snoop Dogg to Katy Perry — as well as support from local groups like the L.A. police union.
“The wonderful thing I never knew as a candidate, when you’re running for mayor, is that you develop a larger family alongside the people that you would never have met in communities, because we’ve all come together for a cause,” he said last week.
Bass will succeed L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, taking over as the city is tested by a number of issues — from political scandals related to the city council to concerns about crime and the homeless.
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