Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Endorse Karen Bass in LA Mayoral Race

The key endorsements for Bass offer a boost in a race where she is heavily outspent by billionaire Rick Caruso

L.A. Mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Rick Caruso
Karen Bass and Rick Caruso split Hollywood in L.A. mayoral race. (Getty Images)

Congresswoman Karen Bass just got a boost in her race against developer Rick Caruso for mayor of Los Angeles — the endorsement of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The top two democrats in the country released a statement on Twitter today, pledging their full support for Bass, who has served in Congress since 2010.

“We are endorsing Karen Bass for Los Angeles Mayor because we are eager to continue to partner with her on innovative strategies to reduce homelessness and increase public safety and prosperity,” Biden and Harris said in a joint statement.

“Karen Bass has our friendship, and she has earned our respect through her leadership in Congress on crime prevention strategies, effective and fair policing, and the welfare of children and families,” Biden and Harris said.

Bass and billionaire real estate developer Caruso were the top two vote-getters in the spring primary. Since no one had a majority, they square off for the mayor’s seat in the Nov. 8 General Election.

Both democrats, Caruso and Bass are expected to continue to spend heavily to win the office. In the primary race, Caruso spent more than $40 million, more than 12 times as much as Bass.

On Friday, Hollywood fundraisers are holding another large gathering for Bass, with Dayna Bochco, Bridgid Coulter-Cheadle, Fran Diamond, Mary Nichols, Ken Solomon, Nancy Stephens and Rick Rosenthal, Cathy Unger, and Cookie Parker serving as co-hosts.

“If you cannot attend this event, please donate,” Parker wrote in an email about the fundraiser. “Remember Caruso has pledged up to $100m to buy the mayor’s office.”

In a statement on Twitter, Bass thanked Biden and Harris for their endorsement, calling it a “true honor.”

“President Biden and Vice President Harris are leaders that I respect and admire so much. I am excited to continue partnering with them when I get our city moving on homelessness, public safety, affordability and in ensuring every Los Angeles resident is treated equally and has an equal shot at success,” Bass said.

Bass recently was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton.
Caruso had spent more than $40 million of his estimated $4.3 billion on his campaign through the primary — far exceeding the $10.2 million LA Mayor Eric Garcetti spent on his 2013 campaign. Caruso’s expenditure includes a $37.5 million loan that the billionaire made to himself. Bass had spent roughly $3.2 million.

The seat is open as Garcetti is serving his second term, the maximum allowed in Los Angeles.

Caruso, a former Republican, registered as a Democrat in January, and has successfully courted support from many prominent Democrats in Hollywood and greater Los Angeles.
Some diehard liberals like Gwyneth Paltrow, UTA partner Jay Sures and Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and his producer wife, Nicole Avant, are backing Caruso, a former Republican with deep Catholic beliefs who switched parties before the race.

Meanwhile, Bass — a former social worker who served as speaker of the California Assembly before winning election to Congress in 2010 — has drawn heavy Hollywood supporters, including Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Jeffrey Katzenberg, writer-director JJ Abrams and his wife producer Katie McGrath, showrunner Shonda Rhimes and Norman Lear.