decision 2022

Bass vs. Caruso: Who Will Lead LA as Mayor?

Election Day is upon the citizens of Los Angeles, as is the decision as to who will lead the city of Angels: longtime politician Karen Bass or billionaire Rick Caruso, who have been in a statistical tie. Scroll down for results as they roll in.

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Late Tuesday night, Karen Bass and Rick Caruso were in a dead heat, with results polling right down the middle: 50, 50. Wednesday morning, the race was still too close to call, with just a 2% difference between the candidates as ballot counting continued.

As a storm barreled down on Los Angeles, Angelenos did their civic duty and voted on who would lead the city: a longtime politician with powerful political supporters, or a billionaire with equally impressive celebrity backers.

Rick Caruso and rival Karen Bass were in a statistical tie in the race for mayor of LA after Caruso ponied up nearly $100 million to fund his campaign.

Bass had nabbed 45% of likely voters with Caruso taking 41% in a recent LA Times and UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll.

See all other election results here as they come in.

Whoever succeeds would take the place of Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was tapped as President Joe Biden’s pick for ambassador to India.

The election comes weeks after LA City Council was tossed into upheaval over leaked audio recorded during a discussion over city redistricting. Then-president Nury Martinez, who has since stepped down, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo had a conversation that included racist slurs referring to the 2-year-old adopted Black son of Councilmember Mike Bonin.

Watch the entire final mayoral debate between candidates Rick Caruso and Rep. Karen Bass. Candidates discussed issues of homelessness, crime, and the recent leaked comments of LA City Councilmembers. As seen on air Oct. 11, 2022.

Karen Bass

Bass has been a Democratic congresswoman since 2011. She grew up in the Venice/Fairfax area of Los Angeles.

In the 1990s, she helped gather a group of African-American and Latino community organizers to found Community Coalition, or CoCo, to help "transform the social and economic conditions in South Los Angeles."

In 2008, she became the first Black woman in the U.S. to serve as speaker of a state legislative body as 67th speaker of the California State Assembly.

Bass has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Celebrities such as Danny Trejo, Alyssa Milano, John Legend, America Ferrera, Jane Fonda, Rosario Dawson, Ken Jeong, Dulé Hill and J.J. Abrams have endorsed Bass in her mayoral run.

If elected, Karen Bass would be the city's first female mayor.

Ballots are still being counted for the LA mayoral race but Karen Bass held an event thanking her supporters on Election Night. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News on Nov. 8, 2022.

Rick Caruso

Caruso also boasts big name supporters.

Elon Musk threw his support behind Caruso back in June, long before the purchase and chaos surrounding Twitter days before the election.

Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and Gwyneth Paltrow have endorsed Caruso.

Caruso, a billionaire real-estate company founder, is the chair of the board of trustees at the University of Southern California.

He is the former president of the Los Angeles Police Commission and member of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. At the age of 26 in 1985, then Mayor Tom Bradley named Caruso commissioner for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He was the youngest commissioner in the history of the city. Caruso was previously a Republican, and non-partisan, before he decided to run as Democratic mayor of LA.

As ballots are still being counted and a winner has not been announced for LA's mayoral race, candidate Rick Caruso holds a celebration in Fairfax thanking his supporters. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News on Nov. 8, 2022.

Amid the contentious campaign, Bass has pointed out that until 2019, Caruso was a Republican and donated to anti-abortion politicians. Caruso's website says he "unequivocally supports a woman's right to choose and, as Mayor, he will wield the power of the office to ensure people have access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion."

Bass and Caruso both agree LA is in crisis over homelessness, and while both say they would declare a state of emergency, they have different ideas on how to tackle the problem.

For years now, the NBC4 I-Team has been holding politicians accountable for their promises to solve the homeless crisis in LA. With the mayoral election on the way, all eyes are on what Karen Bass and Rick Caruso plan to do to tackle the issue. Joel Grover reports for NBC4 News on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.

Bass says she'll focus on building permanent housing, and focus on addressing why they lost their housing to begin with.

Caruso says he will create 30,000 beds within the first 30 days -- twice that of what Bass has pledged -- but Caruso says it would be temporary structures.

Bass says she will also partner closely with LA County to add capacity to mental health and substance abuse systems.

Caruso says he however wants to create a new city health department to provide those services to the homeless.

Caruso has pledged to be the candidate of change, but Bass said in an interview with a wire service that Caruso "represents the worst of our political discourse."

"He shows the worst of what can happen when you have somebody who has unlimited resources, and then you have someone who is raising money and abiding by all the rules," Bass told City News Service. "He has no rules. He has just writes checks."

Caruso says however that because he has self-funded most of his campaign, that he can't be bought by special interest groups.

Bass beat Caruso by nearly 8 percentage points in the June primary.


Results will appear below as votes are being tallied.

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