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Democratic U.S. Representative Karen Bass at a Get Out The Vote rally for 2016 Hillary Clinton in Leimert Park Village Plaza a day before the California Primary. (Photo: Joseph Sohm, Shutterstock)

Karen Bass Scrambles after Poll Reveals Only 3 Point Lead in Race for LA Mayor

‘The dream for the Bass campaign is quickly turning into a nightmare’

By Evan Symon, October 6, 2022 5:17 pm

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) continued her large push for more donations and endorsements on Thursday following news on Monday that Developer and fellow Mayoral candidate Rick Caruso was now only 3 points behind her in polls.

While early pre-primary polls had shown Bass and Caruso being neck to neck, with Caruso even ahead for some time, Bass shot up in post-primary polls. Bass’ lead grew over the summer to a 12 point lead in late August, despite Caruso having outspent her by tens of millions of dollars. However, Bass’ luck changed in September with scandals, a strong debate performance by Caruso, and Caruso still pushing advertising hard finally began to make here slip.

Specifically, Bass was rocked by allegations that she received a scholarship at USC in exchange for helping pass legislation in Washington, an unusual incident in which firearms had been stolen from her house, and new questions over just how close she is to the Church of Scientology. With Bass failing to completely counter the barrage, a UC Berkeley poll released on Monday showed that Bass had fallen to within 3 points of Caruso. The rapid turnaround for Caruso and fall of Bass spurred both candidates to embark on changes in strategy for the final month.

Los Angeles Mayoral Candidate Rick Caruso speaks in a campaign event. Sept. 15, 2022. (Photo: Ringo Chiu, Shutterstock)

While Caruso’s endgame strategy hasn’t been seen in full, he has kept up advertising as well as embracing the newfound momentum going into Thursday’s KNX News Debate, as well as the next following debate on the 11th.

“The choice in this election is clear; positive change or just more of the same. More failure, and more excuses,” said Caruso on Wednesday. “We have the winds of change at our backs as we march to victory and this poll clearly shows it.”

The Bass campaign found itself scrambling on Monday following the poll results, opting to push for more fundraising to help counter the high number of Caruso ads, as well as get more high-profile endorsements, despite already getting President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in August.

In an urgent e-mail sent out on Wednesday to supporters titled “Caruso is cutting into Karen’s lead,” the campaign asked for donations, noting specifically that “Caruso’s ad blitz is flooding the airwaves with just five weeks to go, and he could drown out our campaign if we don’t respond.” The push seemed to be working as of Thursday, with money and endorsements coming from many prominent Angelinos.

Hollywood executives and filmmakers, led by Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams, gave massive donations to the Bass campaign this week in response to Caruso’ resurgence. Washington came through as well, with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) giving Bass a full endorsement in the hopes of solidifying Democrats and getting back those who had moved back to being undecided during September.

“Bass will stand up to big money interests and put the priorities of working people first,” said Senator Sanders in a statement on Tuesday. “Karen will work to end homelessness, make housing more affordable, create good paying jobs, lower the crime rate and build a diverse coalition that brings people together to take on the challenges that the city faces.”

One month to go for Bass, Caruso

Experts have said that while Bass still is currently more likely to win, these last ditch moves with only a month to go show real fear in the Bass campaign that Caruso can still score the underdog victory.

“The dream for the Bass campaign is quickly turning into a nightmare,” noted Los Angeles issue advisor Ramon Martin to the Globe on Thursday. “Bass seemed to not go a few days last month without stumbling into a new scandal, or swinging and missing about questions over crime and housing and other issues dear to Angelinos. The Scientology ad in particular hit hard because younger people are now thinking twice about supporting Bass, and that came out after the most recent poll was completed, so it’s likely worse for her.”

“The timing of these endorsements and funding drive were obviously no coincidence. Politicians running for office often have some delayed endorsements in their back pocket they can use for such an event, and a major push for funding in October screams worry, no matter what campaign. They are clearly afraid of Caruso, who is now carrying momentum into tonight’s debate. We’ll see where we are next week after both debates have been concluded and a new poll is due out. But right now, Caruso is looking to overtake her lead for the first time since May, and at the worst time for her.”

LA Mayoral debates are to be held on both October 6th and October 11th, with election day coming on November 8th.

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Evan Symon
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2 thoughts on “Karen Bass Scrambles after Poll Reveals Only 3 Point Lead in Race for LA Mayor

  1. Hopefully there will be enough votes to get Rick Caruso elected and overcome the voter fraud that the deep-state Democrat cabal will be using to try and install their puppet Karen Bass?

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