Another Caruso ad blitz is coming

Developer’s campaign drops $17M on broadcast time

Rick Caruso and Karen Bass (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
Rick Caruso and Karen Bass (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Earlier this year the Rick Caruso ads were inescapable — an all-out, record-setting blitz that helped launch the developer and mayoral campaign latecomer to the top of the race.

Soon, another blitz is coming: with less than two months to go before the November general election, on Thursday Caruso’s campaign reserved $17 million worth of broadcast television ads, the L.A. Times reported on Friday. 

Caruso’s campaign did not comment to the newspaper on the new ad campaign, but the purchase means that L.A. voters will soon be seeing a lot more of his polished face on local TV. The $17 million does not include cable or digital advertising.

Ahead of the primary, Caruso was also an ubiquitous presence on social media; he’s likely to pursue that route, perhaps as well as cable advertising, during the campaign’s final weeks.

The ad spending revelation comes after recent polling showed Bass’s primary lead widening, and as the contest has turned increasingly negative and personal. Recent media reports have raised fresh questions about Bass’s former tuition arrangement at USC, to the delight of Caruso’s campaign, while Bass’s campaign shot back by accusing Caruso, a former USC trustee, of covering up sexual abuse at the scandal-plagued university.

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Caruso’s new ad buy prompted similar sniping.

“This is what you need to do to cover up a record as an anti-choice Republican,” a Bass spokesperson said of the purchase, the Times reported.

“When you’re part of a culture of corruption that’s led to homelessness and crime conditions in Los Angeles, is it any wonder that Karen Bass is resorting to lies and mudslinging,” a Caruso spokesperson shot back.

Caruso spent more than $20 million on television advertising ahead of the primary but has a net worth estimated at $4 billion. In mid August, while the campaign was in a lull, he infused an additional $3.5 million into his campaign, a move that offered a kind of foreshadowing of his intentions for the fall.

Bass, who is operating with a campaign war chest that’s only a small fraction of Caruso’s, has not placed any fall television ad purchases. She will, however, likely bridge the media gap at least to some degree because of spending by outside groups.

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