LA elects US Rep Karen Bass mayor, first Black woman in post

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. Rep. Karen Bass defeated developer Rick Caruso Wednesday to become the next mayor of Los Angeles, as voters elevated the first Black woman to hold the post as City Hall contends with multiple scandals that have shaken trust in government, an out-of-control homeless crisis and rising crime rates.

With 70% of the vote tallied, Bass had amassed an insurmountable lead of nearly 47,000 votes.

Bass — a Democrat who was on President-elect Joe Biden's short list for vice president — overcame more than $100 million in spending by the billionaire Caruso's campaign while arguing that she would be a coalition builder who could heal a troubled city of nearly 4 million.

The election tested whether voters in the heavily Democratic city were willing to turn away from their liberal tendencies and embrace an approach that would place a strong emphasis on public safety.

Caruso, a former Republican who became a Democrats shortly before entering the race, had represented a turn to the political right. He argued that Bass and other longtime politicians were part of the problem who led LA into multiple crises. He promised to expand the police department to deal with rising crime rates and quickly get ubiquitous homeless encampments off the streets.

Bass, a former state Assembly leader, had the advantage of being a lifelong Democrat in a city where Republicans are almost invisible. She was backed by Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Democratic establishment.

Michael R. Blood, The Associated Press