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LA mayoral race grows as Rep. Karen Bass joins the fray

Bass joins a crowded field including two council members and the city attorney.

By Matthew Royer, Political News Editor

Rep. Karen Bass delivers remarks at the United States Institute Of Peace on 05/23/2019. (U.S. Institute of Peace/Flickr)

With Mayor Eric Garcetti’s second term coming to an end, an influx of candidates arise to replace him.

The top-two primary election that takes place on June 7, has its fair share of competitors for the top job in Los Angeles. On Sept. 27, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) joined the race to replace Garcetti. In her announcement on Twitter, Bass had a message for Angelenos.

“Our city is facing a humanitarian emergency in homelessness,” wrote Bass. “I’ve spent my entire life bringing groups of people together in coalitions to solve complex problems and produce concrete change -- especially in times of crisis. That’s why I’m running for mayor.”

Bass, who has represented Downtown Los Angeles in Congress since 2011, also served in the State Assembly for seven years, including a two-year stint as speaker of the assembly. Recently, the congresswoman made headlines as one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief representatives when campaigning against the recall election, according to Laist, a member station of Southern California Public Radio.

The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus enters a stacked field of mayoral hopefuls, including City Councilmen Kevin de León (D-Eagle Rock), Joe Buscaino (D-San Pedro) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (D). Council President Nury Martinez (D-San Fernando), who is expected to be nominated to replace Garcetti as Mayor if he is confirmed as Biden’s nominee for ambassador to India, announced on Sept. 16 she would not seek the mayor’s office, rather staying on the city council according to the LA Times.

Bass and de León have their own history, having served in Sacramento together. Exerting her authority as speaker of the assembly, Bass investigated de León in 2008 for improperly ghost-voting on behalf of another assemblymember, leading to a rule change according to SFGATE.

Buscaino, a 15-year veteran of the LAPD, is running on the message of “A Safer L.A.,” his vision of how to merge law enforcement with social programs to solve homelessness in the city. According to the Daily News, Buscaino has also forfeited his position as council president pro tempore to continue his campaign without a conflict of interest.

Bass and de León are both running as progressive candidates for the office of mayor. Both have also had national ambitions in the not-so-far past. In 2018, de León ran to the left of Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) for U.S. Senate but lost with 45.8 percent of the vote to Feinstein’s majority of 54.2 percent. Bass on the other hand was considered and entered, vetting for the role of Vice President during Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, according to the LA Times, but lost out to eventual Vice President Kamala Harris.

As previously reported by The Valley Star, Bass was named a potential replacement for Harris in the U.S. Senate, but SFV native Alex Padilla was eventually promoted from the secretary of state’s office by Newsom.

With the field crowding, current City Attorney Mike Feuer has made a call for immediate debates to commence according to KFI AM 640.

“Voters deserve to know much more about who we are and what we stand for because in many ways their safety, livelihoods and quality of life depend on it,” Feuer said. “So, let's debate. Let's debate now and let's debate often.”

While other candidates have campaigned for weeks and even months, Bass has started to accumulate high-profile endorsements quickly after a “Draft Bass” movement sparked her campaign, as reported by the Daily News.

Bass’ Endorsements currently include former Sen. Barbara Boxer, eight members of Congress and three LA City council members.

The mayoral primary election is scheduled for June 7 alongside elections for city attorney, county sheriff, city controller and multiple other municipal positions, with a final election culminating on Nov. 8, 2022.


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