Democratic US Rep. Karen Bass has been elected Los Angeles’ first female and second black mayor. She defeated billionaire businessman Rick Caruso. Bass received 53.1 percent of the vote, compared to 46.9 percent for Caruso. the Associated Press declared Bass the winner on Wednesday, ending more than a week of tension since the November 8 election.
Bass will succeed Mayor Eric Garcetti, becoming only the second black person to hold the office, after Tom Bradley. The race was a lot closer than expected, given that Caruso had spent more than $100 million, mostly from his own resources, in the past few weeks of the campaign, far more than Bass. Both candidates focused on the two biggest concerns of voters in the second largest city in the United States: rising violent crime and the deepening homelessness crisis, which has around 42,000 people living on the streets. Caruso also wooed voters with his message of law and order. Still, the congresswoman remained the favorite and enjoyed the support of leading Democrats, including President Joe Biden.
Bass says he wants to move 250 officers from desk jobs to patrols, hire more civilians to fill their places, and bring the number back to 9,700 officers. The 69-year-old also pledged to shelter 17,000 homeless people in its first year.