California Politics

California Politics

Michael R. Blood |: Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Karen Bass defeated developer Rick Caruso to become the next mayor of Los Angeles on Wednesday, as voters named its first black woman mayor as the city grapples with numerous government trust scandals. The homeless crisis and rising crime.

With 70% of the votes counted, Bass won by an unassailable margin of nearly 47,000 votes.

Bass, a Democrat who was on Vice President Joe Biden's short list, has outspent billionaire Caruso by more than $100 million on the campaign trail, insisting he would build a coalition in a troubled city that could treat nearly 4 million people.

The election tested whether voters in the Democratic city were willing to shed their liberal leanings and embrace an approach that emphasized public safety.

Caruso, a former Republican who became a Democrat shortly before entering the race, summed up the swing to the right. He argued that Bass and other longtime politicians were part of the problem that led Los Angeles into its many crises. He promised to expand the police department to deal with the rising crime rate and to remove the ubiquitous homeless camps from the streets.

A former speaker of the state assembly, Bass had the distinction of being a lifelong Democrat in a city where Republicans are almost invisible. He was supported by Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the Democratic establishment.

The election was historic, as she would become the first woman and second black person to hold the position, after former Mayor Tom Bradley. He will take office next month as the city council grapples with a racial scandal that led to the resignation of a former president and calls for the resignation of two other members. More than 40,000 people have been left homeless, and there is widespread concern about crime, from daytime robberies on city sidewalks to thefts from luxury stores.

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