President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced their endorsement of Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) in her run for Mayor of Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Bass has had a history with both Harris and Biden in Washington. She has often worked with Harris in Congress, especially when they were part of the California delegation when Harris was a Senator. Biden has also been close to Bass, with the Congresswoman nearly getting a cabinet role in his administration and making the shortlist for many prominent positions, including being his running mate in 2020.
However, many thought an endorsement from both the President and Vice President would not happen due to Mayoral races and races where candidates from the same party are the major candidates typically not getting any such endorsement. But the close ties to Bass, as well as her opponent, real estate developer Rick Caruso, still being within striking distance at the polls, managed to change their tunes on Tuesday with an endorsement announcement.
“We are eager to continue to partner with her on innovative strategies to reduce homelessness and increase public safety and prosperity,” said President Biden and Vice President Harris in a joint statement. “Karen Bass has our friendship, and she has earned our respect through her leadership in Congress on crime prevention strategies, effective and fair policing, and the welfare of children and families.”
The endorsements of both Biden and Harris spurred Caruso to give a response. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Caruso severely criticized the backing of the President and Vice President, saying that it shows that it will just mean more of the same old in the city with no change, with the Congresswoman continuing to fail with the homeless crisis, public safety, and other issues in LA.
“After 20 years of representation from Karen Bass, LA needs fresh leadership who can take our city in a positive direction and make it more livable,” tweeted Caruso. “The same old from establishment politicians won’t stop this city from sliding into an even more desperate situation.
“No endorsement will hide the fact that Karen Bass has a track record of failing to address LA’s homelessness, public safety, and corruption. These endorsements have absolutely nothing to do with what this campaign is really about.”
No endorsement will hide the fact that @KarenBassLA has a track record of failing to address LA’s homelessness, public safety, and corruption. These endorsements have absolutely nothing to do with what this campaign is really about.
— Rick J. Caruso (@RickCarusoLA) August 2, 2022
New endorsements for Bass
Both Bass and Caruso have received prominent endorsements in the last few months, with many coming just before the primary in early June when Bass barely defeated Caruso in the election. Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi has been amongst Bass’s top endorsers so far in the race, along with 16 other current and former members of Congress, 3 Senators, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and dozens of others state and local officials. Before Biden and Harris, the most prominent had been former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who backed Bass only 5 days ago.
Caruso has also kept up pace, albeit with a pull coming from law enforcement groups, public safety groups, and prominent individuals. Former LA Mayor Richard Riordan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and former California first lady Maria Shriver are just a few supporting Caruso.
While many prominent Californians have yet to give support one way or another, including Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, many have noted that some of the more prominent endorsements, including Biden and Harris, may have big downsides as well.
“Usually a presidential endorsement is an automatic 5 to 10 point jump up this early on,” explained Jan Ives, a Washington-based local election analyst, to the Globe on Tuesday. “But look where Biden is now. Over 55% of Americans disapprove of Biden and only 39% approve. That’s worse than where both Trump and Obama were during this time in their terms at this point. And if it gets worse for Biden, as this recession and many, many other factors are showing that it might, that endorsement won’t be so great come November. In fact, Caruso has a good opportunity here to make campaign ads showing the endorsement should these approval ratings go down even further. I mean, a very unpopular president not making the right choices wanting her? The ad almost writes itself.”
“This isn’t a normal Mayoral race, and the endorsements today only further back up that fact.”
More endorsement announcements are expected to come in in the next few months.
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