Caruso concedes after $100M campaign for LA mayor

Developer’s self-funded bid falls short by clear margin as veteran pol Bass takes commanding lead

Rick Caruso and Karen Bass (Getty)
Rick Caruso and Karen Bass (Getty)

Rick Caruso has conceded the mayoral election in Los Angeles to U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, a longtime elected official who withstood his $100 million self-funded campaign to pull away to a handy victory after a close campaign.

The developer behind The Grove, Americana at Brand and various other commercial real estate developments around Southern California made his concession yesterday afternoon after an update on the count from the November 8 election showed him trailing by around 50,000 votes with an estimated 250,000 ballots left to count, according to the Los Angeles Times. He outspent Bass by nearly 11-to-1 in the four-month campaign, riding waves of TV and digital ads to run neck-and-neck in the weeks leading up to the general election.

The campaign turned largely on homelessness, public safety and corruption at Los Angeles City Hall. The two candidates offered similar plans overall, with some differences on how to bring more housing for the homeless, among other planks or their respective platform.

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Neither candidate focused on a ballot measure calling for a transfer tax of 4 percent on home sales starting at $5 million, with the levy rising to a maximum of 5.5 percent at $10 million or more. The measure’s backers also have declared victory. 

Caruso portrayed himself as an outsider with a fresh perspective to go with experience in service to the city as a police commissioner and other appointed roles over the course of decades. He switched his personal affiliation from Republican to Democrat before entering the campaign.

Bass is a veteran of the Democratic Party establishment in Los Angeles, where she was first elected to public office as a member of the California State Assembly, where she rose to the powerful spot of speaker before winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is a longtime colleague of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and made President Joe Biden’s short list for a choice of vice president during the 2020 election.

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