Rick Caruso open to another run for LA mayor or California governor

Billionaire developer focuses on flipping Republican House seats in California

Rick Caruso Open to Run for LA Mayor or California Governor
Rick Caruso with Los Angeles City Hall and the California State Capitol in Sacramento (Wikipedia/Andre m, Getty)

Rick Caruso may be poised for a political comeback — and a future run against Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, or for state governor.

The billionaire developer, who lost to Bass in November despite his $104-million self-funded campaign, appears available for another political challenge, according to an interview with Politico.

When asked about a possible rematch with Bass in three years — or the 2026 race for California governor — the shopping mall magnate appeared willing, if not ready.

“I am open to it, but there’s a lot of time and things will unfold,” Caruso told Politico. “If there is an opportunity that makes sense, I will look at it.” 

For the moment, Caruso is focused on a plan to help swing-seat Democrats retake the House next year, according to the interview.

Caruso has spent months laying the groundwork for a comeback in California, including meetings with top House Democrats in Los Angeles and Washington and making donations to their committees.

He pledged to invest time and an unspecified amount of money into five California congressional districts President Joe Biden won in 2020, now held by Republicans. 

He also expects to be involved in the presidential and U.S. Senate races, and wants to court Latino voters who failed to tip the scales in his favor in his own mayoral race last year.

“Stick with the central theme of getting moderates in the House,” Caruso told Politico regarding his strategy for the next year. “I am not out to support extremists or, frankly, ideologues.

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“We’ve got to get things moving and get out of this ridiculous constant fighting and everybody kicking sand in each other’s face in the sandbox.”

During his Los Angeles mayoral campaign, Caruso had pledged to curb crime, cut homelessness and restore the city’s depleted police department as he vied for the attention of Angelenos hungry for someone from outside the political ranks. 

But the developer of The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles, the Americana at Brand in Glendale and the Commons at Calabasas stressed that his concerns go beyond Los Angeles, including the need to build more housing and promote pro-business policies across the state.

While Caruso didn’t dwell on the mayoral race, he suggested voters remained frustrated — contending homelessness and the housing shortage have grown worse under Bass.

“It hasn’t gotten better,” Caruso told Politico. “The homeless count was up 10 percent. There are areas where crime is continuing to grow. I would love to have someone tell me how many new units have been built.”

Yusef Robb, a political advisor for the mayor, disputed Caruso’s allegations.

Mayor Bass was overwhelmingly elected to change the status quo on homelessness, public safety and opportunity, and she is doing just that by bringing 17,000 people inside and counting, funding a record number of new police officers and making City Hall more responsive to every Angeleno,” Robb told Politico.

— Dana Bartholomew

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