Caruso’s personal tab on mayor’s race tops $22M

Commercial developer’s spending tops all other candidates combined, recent poll shows narrow lead

Los Angeles /
Apr.April 29, 2022 10:00 AM
From left: Mayoral candidates Rick Caruso and Karen Bass in front of Los Angeles City Hall at 200 North Spring Street (Getty Images, iStock)
From left: Mayoral candidates Rick Caruso and Karen Bass in front of Los Angeles City Hall at 200 North Spring Street (Getty Images, iStock)

The barrage of TV ads, mailers and online plugs behind commercial real estate developer Rick Caruso’s run for Los Angeles mayor has been fueled by more than $22 million of his own money––an unprecedented injection of a personal fortune into the city’s electoral politics.

The billionaire developer has spent more cash with six weeks left before the primary than all of the other candidates combined, the Los Angeles Times reported. By comparison, Rep. Karen Bass has spent nearly $800,000.

The Bass campaign led in fundraising, with more than $1 million since the beginning of the year, according to campaign filings for Jan. 1 through April 23. That’s well above the $570,000 or so raised by the campaign for Caruso, who didn’t enter the race until February.

Bass also received more than $1 million from the city’s election matching funds program, which Caruso skirted.

Recent polling showed Caruso leading Bass by a nose, with 24 percent of likely voters backing the developer and 23 percent supporting Bass. About 40 percent of likely voters are still undecided ahead of the June 7 primary.

Caruso has shoveled an unprecedented $22.5 million of his own money into his mayoral bid. Garcetti spent about $10.2 million in total on his winning bid for citywide office in 2013, which included a runoff campaign against then-City Controller Wendy Greuel.

Republican businessman Richard Riordan put $6 million of his own money into his successful run for mayor in 1993, equivalent to nearly $12 million in 2022 dollars after adjusting for inflation. Only half of that was spent during the primary.

The campaign filings show other candidates trailing the mayoral leaders.

Councilman Kevin de León has raised about $580,000 and spent a little more than $500,000. He picked up about $420,000 in matching funds.

City Atty. Mike Feuer raised about $116,000 and lent his campaign $100,000 of his own money. He picked up about $690,000 in matching funds and his campaign spent about $455,000.

Filings for Councilman Joe Buscaino weren’t available.

The union representing Los Angeles police officers started an independent expenditure committee to oppose Bass. The union, which has endorsed Caruso, put an initial $500,000 into the committee. A separate committee supporting Bass raised nearly $1 million.

[Los Angeles Times] – Dana Bartholomew





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