Monday, 05 Dec 2022

Los Angeles mayor hopefuls Karen Bass and Rick Caruso locked in tight race

Los Angeles mayor hopefuls Karen Bass and Rick Caruso locked in tight race


Los Angeles mayor hopefuls Karen Bass and Rick Caruso locked in tight race

A billionaire real estate developer and a Democratic congresswoman are still locked in a tight race to become the next mayor of Los Angeles, in a record-breaking campaign where political spending topped $120m.

On Wednesday morning, the margin of votes between Rick Caruso and Karen Bass was still too close to call, with the candidates virtually tied, the Associated Press reported.

Caruso was ahead by 12,000 votes on Wednesday morning local time, with nearly 80% of expected votes remaining to be counted.

Both nominally Democrats, Bass and Caruso come from starkly different backgrounds, and their down-to-the-wire contest comes at a particularly fraught time for Los Angeles.

During the campaign, Caruso made it clear he would like to roll back some criminal justice reforms in order to impose tougher penalties for theft, and suggested he would be willing to arrest unhoused people who were unwilling to move into shelters.

City government is also in crisis. Recordings leaked last month captured three councilmembers, including the council president, making bigoted and racist remarks about Black, Indigenous, Jewish, Armenian and gay people while discussing redistricting. The closed-door remarks of the three Latino councilmembers included derogatory statements about the Black toddler of another councilmember and offensive stereotypes about Oaxacans in Los Angeles.

The scandal sparked international outrage and exposed longstanding racial tensions and anti-Black racism of some lawmakers in a city that is roughly 50% Latino and 9% Black. The leaks captured the three moderate Democrats deriding progressives and crudely discussing their efforts to reduce the power of renters and their Black colleagues in the redistricting process, prompting a state investigation.

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