Karen Bass Becomes the First Female Mayor of Los Angeles

With thousands of votes still left to count, Congresswoman Karen Bass has secured an insurmountable lead over billionaire Rick Caruso to become the first female mayor of Los Angeles. Bass also becomes the city’s second Black mayor, following Tom Bradley whose record-setting tenure lasted from 1973 to 1993.

The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and New York Times declared Bass the winner Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement Wednesday night, Bass said it is “the honor of my life to be elected as your mayor, and that it is “time to house people immediately, increase safety and opportunity in every neighborhood, and create a new standard of ethics and accountability at City Hall.”

Bass also thanked Caruso for calling her to concede, and said he is “someone who I hope continues his civic participation in the city that we both love.”

Bass also identified homelessness, rising crime and the housing affordability crisis as the issues she intends to tackle as soon as she takes office.

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Outgoing Mayor Eric Garcettie called Bass’ victory “a historic moment and a win for all Angelenos.” Referring to Bass as “a personal friend for decades,” Garcetti described Bass as “a constant source of inspiration and guidance during my years in office.”

The news comes after the release of an additional 103,126 counted votes by the LA County Registrar-Record/County Clerk’s office; 463,050 votes remain uncounted, and the next batch release is planned for between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. The vast majority of the remaining ballots come from mail-in voters, who have proved far more likely to vote for Bass.

According to current totals, Bass has received 403,427 votes, 53.06% of the total so far, while Caruso has dropped to 46.94% with a current total of 403,427 votes.

Bass won the race despite being outspent by Caruso more than 11-1. Caruso, a lifelong Republican who only changed his registration in 2022 just prior to announcing his candidacy, poured more than $100 million of his own money into his campaign. By contrast, according to the LA City Ethics Department, Bass’s campaign raised just over $9 million dollars.

“The voters have spoken. I’m proud of the work we did to engage long-neglected communities, giving a voice to the unheard, and to the light we shined on the biggest challenges facing our great city. I’m proud that we never gave up our optimism and hope for what Los Angeles can achieve and pushed to elevate the discourse to focus on the people, not special interests,” Caruso said in a statement emailed to media on Wednesday night.

“For now, as a city we need to unite around Mayor-elect Bass and give her the support she needs to tackle the many issues we face. Congratulations, Karen, and God-speed,” Caruso said also. See his full statement here.

For a closer look, read TheWrap’s interview with Bass from Nov. 3, where she talked about her relationship to the entertainment industry, her opponent Caruso, and more here.