Karen Bass Vows to Address Homelessness and People ‘Dying on Our Streets’ as She Heads to Runoff in LA Mayor’s Race

Karen Bass and Rick Caruso (Campaign Handout Photos)

Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass will face billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso in a November runoff to decide who becomes the next mayor of Los Angeles.

The two finished at the top of a wide field of contenders in Tuesday’s primary election. Just before midnight, Caruso led the crop of a dozen candidates with 41.4 percent of the vote, while Bass received 37.2 percent, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s office. City Councilman Kevin de León took third place with 7.6 percent.

Bass told supporters if elected, she would focus on addressing L.A.’s high rent prices, the polluted air and the homelessness crisis — which saw 1,988 people die on the streets of the L.A. area between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

“Together we will make a place where you can afford to live, where you want to live because you feel safe, because the air you breathe is clean and because people are no longer dying on our streets,” she said in a live broadcast as the election results came in.

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She also thanked supporters for getting her message out to voters by knocking on doors and other grassroots efforts, while Caruso poured more than $25 million of his own money into his campaign and blanketed local TV stations, radio and YouTube with ads.

“Tonight, we’re seeing the voters make a clear choice. They wants leadership that is battle-tested, mission-driven and always fights for L.A.’s values,” Bass said. “Tonight the city will see that it’s hard to defeat a people power campaign.”

Caruso, the developer behind The Grove and other shopping malls, told supporters the election night results prove L.A. residents want change.

“This is a great night because so many people have gone to the voting booth and they sent a message: we are not helpless in the face of our problems,” he said. “We will not allow the city to decline. We will no longer accept excuses.”

Caruso, a former Republican who switched his party affiliation to Democrat earlier this year,  had the backing of the union that represents LAPD officers and made rising crime a key part of his campaign.

Bass and Caruso will face off on Nov. 8, because current Mayor Eric Garcetti has termed out.