US Representative Karen Bass becomes first Black woman to be elected LA mayor
United States Representative Karen Bass at a Get Out the Vote rally at UCLA, pictured. Bass defeated businessman and billionaire Rick Caruso in this year’s midterm election for Los Angeles mayor. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)
By Shaanth Kodialam
Nov. 16, 2022 7:51 p.m.
This post was updated Nov. 20 at 11:41 p.m.
United States Representative Karen Bass will be Los Angeles’ first female mayor, defeating businessman and billionaire Rick Caruso in this year’s midterm elections.
According to the LA Times, Bass was projected to win the election Wednesday afternoon, with 53.1% of the vote compared to Caruso’s 46.9% and nearly 75% of the vote reported. Election officials reported initial results around 8:30 p.m. election night a week earlier, when Bass and Caruso were nearly tied at just above and just below 50%, respectively. Though Caruso eventually had a lead after further reports, Bass again led Caruso by Nov. 11.
The two previously faced dozens of candidates in a crowded primary earlier this year, with Bass emerging out of the field at 42% of the vote, around seven points ahead of second place finisher Caruso. The top two finishers advanced to November’s election since neither received an outright majority.
Bass will also be LA’s second Black mayor in its more than 200-year history, and the first Black woman, according to the Associated Press.
Vice President Kamala Harris also praised Bass at a UCLA rally Nov. 7, voicing appreciation for her leadership and urging voters to support her.
[Related: Vice president Kamala Harris, Democratic party members speak at rally at UCLA]
Bass received both Harris and President Joe Biden’s endorsements, along with those of multiple city council members and LA city officials. Caruso received endorsements from multiple celebrities such as Katy Perry and Elon Musk, as well as one from former LA Mayor Richard Riordan.
Throughout the campaign, Bass and Caruso debated several key issues, such as homelessness, housing and public safety.
According to her campaign website, Bass has supported building more permanent, affordable and temporary housing, providing mental health and addiction treatment, and establishing an office of community safety to tackle crime. During the campaign, Caruso argued for hiring more police officers for the city, pledged not to raise taxes to address homelessness and supported incentivizing the production of affordable housing.
Caruso conceded in a written statement posted on Twitter, lauding his campaign’s focus on issues such as housing and corruption.
“This campaign has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am so proud of my campaign,” he said in the statement. “We held true to the core values of our family – integrity, honesty, and respect for all.”
In an emailed statement sent Wednesday, Bass celebrated her victory, noting that her administration will target homelessness, crime and housing.
“With my whole heart, I’m ready to serve, and my pledge to you is that we will hit the ground running on Day One,” she added. “I am honored and humbled that the people have chosen me to be the next mayor of Los Angeles.”