Karen Bass elected first woman mayor of Los Angeles

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Pablo Orihuela, News Editor

Democratic Rep. Karen Bass won the election for mayor of Los Angeles against Rick Caruso on Nov. 16, according to The Associated Press. Bass will become the first woman mayor of Los Angeles, and only the second Black mayor in L.A. history.

The journey to crown the next mayor finally concluded after neither Bass nor Caruso could gain 50% of the total votes during the statewide primary elections in June, leading to the runoff during this general election cycle.

Bass accepted her victory while addressing both her supporters and challenger Caruso, a real estate billionaire and longtime Republican, through a statement published on her Twitter account. She said that she would focus on solving city issues, including affordable housing, crime and homelessness.

“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,” Bass said in her statement. “I am honored and humbled that the people have chosen me to be the next Mayor of Los Angeles.”

The competitive nature of the mayoral race was highlighted by the fact that Bass’ victory came over a week after the Nov. 8 election. The race was called with Bass winning 54.82% of the 923,747 votes counted, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Caruso’s aggressive spending toward his campaign, a significant portion coming from his own finances, was also seen as a reason for him remaining competitive throughout the mayoral election, in spite of his status as a political outsider. He would eventually go on to outspend Bass by an almost 14:1 ratio.

The Caruso campaign spent over $99 million — $41.5 million in the primary and $57.5 million in the general — on his mayoral campaign; compared to Bass, who spent roughly $7.2 million — $3.6 million in the primary and $3.5 million in the general — according to data from the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, who tracks candidate spending.

Caruso accepted his defeat later that night, posting his own statement on Twitter.

“This campaign has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Caruso wrote. “While we came up short in the count, we made an indelible impact on the city and its people that will last far beyond the campaign trail or Election Day.”

Bass will enter her new mayoral role as a seasoned Democratic lawmaker, boasting a political resume that includes being a member of the California State Assembly, Speaker of the California State Assembly, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011. The L.A. native was a longtime activist before serving in government.

Bass is scheduled to be sworn in and start her term as the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles on Dec. 12.