In recent weeks, the LA Mayoral race has continued to slow down with lines between all the candidates solidifying their support.
Longtime frontrunner Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) has kept up her base support of her Congressional district constituents, as well as black and white liberal voters. She garnered her first media endorsement on Sunday with the LA Times backing her, with dozens of local, state, and national lawmakers backing her, ranging from City Council members and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Assembly members to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Developer Rick Caruso, who has recently overtaken Bass in polling, has also been busy. In addition to his bread and butter of conservative, center-right and moderate voters in LA, he has been steadily moving outside his base of the San Fernando Valley and bringing in many white and Latino voters. Caruso has also moved police support from former LAPD officer and Councilman Joe Buscaino to himself, getting many police endorsements, as well as media endorsements, and for fun, even has Wolfgang Puck now in his corner.
— Rick J. Caruso (@RickCarusoLA) April 16, 2022
Buscaino, meanwhile, has been tapping away at local lawmaker support for Bass, bringing in many City Councilors and Mayors to go on his side. While currently in distant 5th place, Buscaino still holds some police support that Caruso would like to solidify, as well as local lawmakers support that is making Bass a little uneasy. Besides his city district, Buscaino still doesn’t have much of a base to draw from, meaning he may want to either branch out soon or withdraw and throw his support behind someone who would really appreciate the boost.
Fellow Councilman Kevin de Leon, meanwhile, has been losing Latino support to the other candidates, primarily through Caruso who has upped Spanish-language advertising. He still has strong Latino support, as well as his city district, but the once thought of candidate to face Bass in the main election in November is now in third, and still falling. There’s not much in terms of endorsements too, and new and old gaffes coming to light, like when he once forgot the pledge of allegiance, aren’t helping him.
Finally, Mike Feuer rounds out the top five candidates. Feuer does have a lot of law people going behind him, but not too many in terms of prominence. Like most of the candidates, he saw a dramatic drop of support from March to April, and like Buscaino and de Leon, really needs to get a boost quickly to stay in the race past June 7th.
So what does this all mean?
Caruso and Bass are the two that keep popping. Caruso is catching a lot of support from people who have felt non-represented during the Garcetti years, with his emphasis on crime really turning a lot of heads. Bass, the biggest name going into the race, has gone from a shoo-in to someone who found out that she actually needs to run a campaign to keep ahead of coming out of nowhere Caruso. Big issues she’s on, like homelessness and affordable housing, have also turned heads, but like crime with Caruso, all the candidates are now talking about it.
“Bass was not expecting Caruso to get close to her, let alone beating her in the polls,” explained Los Angeles issue advisor Ramon Martin in a Globe interview on Monday. “Bass has that Hillary Clinton effect, where she is very smart and is experienced but has an un-likability that is really starting to show now. It’s not race or gender or any other excuse like that for the polls either. Caruso just keeps on bringing a lot to the table and has proven to be charismatic. Also, he has ads going on a lot, and to his credit, has not really gone after Bass as much as LA problems. So far.”
“So it looks like it is going to be those two most likely. De Leon, Buscaino, Feuer, [Mel] Wilson and the others, right now they need something of a miracle. Bass came in with a large network, Caruso is growing big, and everyone else is struggling to move far beyond their usual support now. It’s not over, and there is a world where one of them can come from behind and knock out either Caruso or Bass in June. But chances are it will be Bass and Caruso.”
The Los Angeles Mayoral Primary is due to be held on June 7th.