Karen Bass, Rick Caruso advance to general in Los Angeles mayoral election

Karen Bass and Rick Caruso advanced from the nonpartisan primary for mayor of Los Angeles, California, on June 7, 2022. Since neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the two will participate in a November 8 general election. Incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti could not run for re-election due to term limits. Since 1933, every open election for Los Angeles mayor has advanced to a general election.

At the time the race was called, Caruso had received 41% of the vote and Bass had received 38%.

The New York Times’ Jennifer Medina wrote that the race “has focused on voters’ worries about public safety and homelessness in the nation’s second-largest city” and could “become a test of whether voters this year favor an experienced politician who has spent nearly two decades in government or an outsider running on his business credentials.”

Speaking to Axios, Caruso Senior Advisor Peter Ragone said, “Los Angeles is in a crisis: Homeless, crime and corruption are uncontrolled. This is a moment for someone like Rick to come in and clean up City Hall.” Bass spokeswoman Anna Bahr said, “Voters have a choice in this race — between a billionaire real estate developer who has never built a single unit of affordable housing despite 50,000 people living on our streets, and a Black community organizer who has spent her life running toward this city’s crises and solving them.”

Regarding public safety, a Caruso campaign ad said, “As Police Commission president, [Caruso] took on city hall politicians and cut crime 30%. As mayor, Caruso won’t defund the police. He’ll invest in making L.A. safer with 1,500 new officers, increase youth crime prevention, and crack down on illegal guns and retail theft.”

Bass said she would invest in programs to address causes of crime, establish an Office of Community Safety “to develop a neighborhood-specific strategy to re-envision public safety, and ensure that the needs of individual communities are met,” and hire police officers and civilian workers in police departments to add 250 officers to patrol.

Caruso is the founder and chief executive officer of a retail complex development company. He also served on Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power Commission, as the president of Los Angeles’ Police Commission, and on the USC Board of Trustees.

Bass was first elected to public office in 2004 to serve in the California State Assembly. She served in the Assembly from 2005 to 2010 and was speaker from 2008 to 2010. Bass was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and currently represents California’s 37th Congressional District.

Craig Greiwe, Alex Gruenenfelder, John Jackson, Andrew Kim, Gina Viola, Mel Wilson, and Kevin de León also ran in the primary. Joe Buscaino unofficially withdrew from the race on May 12 and endorsed Caruso, Mike Feuer unofficially withdrew on May 17 and endorsed Bass, and Ramit Varma unofficially withdrew on May 23 and endorsed Caruso. Buscaino, Feuer, and Varma still appeared on the primary ballot.

This is the first even-year election for Los Angeles mayor since the 2015 passage of Charter Amendment 1, which shifted city elections to even-numbered years beginning in 2020.