U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, a longtime congresswoman, defeated Rick Caruso, a billionaire real estate developer, to become the next mayor of Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press on Wednesday. In a metropolis where tensions over a corrupt government, homelessness and crime rates are high, Bass pledged to build coalitions as the first woman and second Black Angeleno elected to lead the city.
Caruso pumped in more than $100 million of his own fortune into his campaign, breaking local spending records in his attempt to sway Los Angeles voters – including an election-eve concert with Diplo sponsored by Caruso’s campaign. The congresswoman was able to prevail despite Caruso’s outspending, as her longtime history of community-building in South Los Angeles, support from President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and Vice President Kamala Harris, and post as a former state Assembly leader pushed her to the finish line.
Bass will take office next month amid the aftermath of a Los Angeles City Council scandal that led to the resignation of its former president over leaked racist remarks. And as 40,000 people sleep in tents and makeshift homes across the city, all eyes are on how Bass will actively tackle an overwhelming homeless crisis and community anxiety over crime.
As mayor, Bass will replace Democrat Eric Garcetti and has said that she will declare a state of emergency on homelessness and find housing for 17,000 homeless people within her first year, according to the New York Times.
She will be Los Angeles’ second Black mayor, nearly three decades after Tom Bradley retired as the longest tenure by any mayor in the city’s history. Bass will also be joining a growing female leadership among local leaders, including the county’s five-member Board of Supervisors dominated by women.
Bass, who won the race with a fraction of Caruso’s campaign spending, has said “it’s not the power of the money, it’s the power of the people.”