LA Mayor’s Race Pits Veteran Politician Bass Against Billionaire Developer Caruso

Caruso may have trouble fulfilling campaign promises

Manny Otiko
4 min readJun 26, 2022


By Manny Otiko |IVN

The Los Angeles mayoral race has come down to two candidates. Billionaire developer Rick Caruso and U.S. Rep. Karen Bass finished on top of a crowded primary field. Since neither candidate attained 50% of the vote, they will go to a runoff in November.

However, the candidates are as different as can be. Caruso is a former Republican, who only became a Democrat because it was difficult for a red candidate to win in a blue city. Also, Caruso used his personal fortune to raise his profile. He spent an estimated $40 million on the campaign. Much of that went to a huge advertising buy which blanketed television with attack ads focused on Bass. Bass, a veteran politician who worked her way up the ladder, had a much smaller war chest.

Caruso finished narrowly ahead of Bass in the primary. And he has also drawn celebrity endorsements from the likes of rapper Snoop Dogg and actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The attack ads portrayed Bass as part of the corrupt Democratic establishment and Caruso as a reformer who could solve L.A.’s homeless problem.

Can Caruso Fix Homelessness?

The city has the second-largest homeless population in the country, which stands at 66,000 according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The problem has become increasingly glaring with homeless people setting up camps under bridges, which makes L.A. look like a shantytown.

According to a Politico article, Bass is not without resources. She tapped into a Democratic super PAC that spent about $1.2 million on anti-Caruso ads.

One ad called Caruso a fraud and compared him to former President Donald Trump.

According to Los Angeles-based political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Caruso’s fortune is a strength and a weakness.

“Caruso is a billion-dollar developer. His sole interest is in corporate, office and high-end income residential development projects,” he said. “It’s this…



Manny Otiko

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.