Primary voters expected to choose Bass and Caruso to square off for LA mayor – San Bernardino Sun

Voters today are choosing the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles who will grapple with a homeless crisis, a series of corruption scandals and the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The race is widely viewed as dominated by U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass and wealthy developer Rick Caruso.

The nine candidates facing off on Tuesericday, June 7 also include L.A. City Councilman Kevin de Leon, who has run a robust campaign, as well as community activists and business people also seeking to replace termed-out Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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After the ballot was printed, three other L.A. mayoral candidates dropped out – L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer and businessman Ramit Varma – but they are still on the ballot. Those candidates now support one, or the other, of the two front-runners Caruso and Bass.

The nine candidates still vying for the job are: Karen Bass, Rick Caruso, Kevin de Leon, business executive Craig E. Greiwe; business owner John “Jsamuel’ Jackson; attorney and citizen advocate Andrew Kim; social justice advocate Alex Gruenenfelder Smith; community activist Gina Viola; and Realtor and community advocate Mel Wilson.

A frontrunner could be elected outright if they earn  more than 50% of the votes on Tuesday. But that’s unlikely due to the large number of candidates. Instead, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff in the November general election.

Voters have been hammered by mailers and political ads. As of June 1, Caruso, the billionaire mall developer of Americana Glendale and The Grove had spent a record $40 million, funding extensive mailers, television ads and online streaming platforms. Others couldn’t match his unprecedented spending, but Bass has spent more than $3.2 million — more common for a leading mayoral candidate.

His exposure helped Caruso leap from polling at 6% reported in a Loyola Marymount poll in early February, to a close race against Bass in a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted May 24 to May 31 and co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. Both polled above 30%, with Bass having a slight advantage.

A significant percentage of voters are undecided. Among the candidates who hope to break through to those undecided voters is Los Angeles City Councilman De Leon, who could arguably come from behind. He benefits from his background as a previous leader of the California State Senate.

With more than 40,000 Angelenos estimated to be without a stable place to live other than a shelter bed, vehicle, tent or other makeshift protection, homelessness is the top issue for most candidates. Most have touted plans to help people get off the streets by increasing shelters, building affordable housing, and expanding mental health and drug addiction services.

In hopes of quickly and permanently removing encampments rising throughout the city, some candidates focus on enforcing laws that prohibit living on the streets.

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