Karen Bass, a Democratic U.S. congresswoman, was projected on Wednesday to beat Rick Caruso in the race for Los Angeles mayor, becoming the first woman to lead the nation’s second-largest city.
Bass, 69, was leading real estate developer Caruso by a margin of 53.1% to 46.9% on Wednesday evening with 76% of the vote counted, according to Edison Research.
Caruso, a former Republican, also ran as a Democrat in deeply liberal Los Angeles, and the hard-fought campaign was so close that Bass could not be declared the winner until a full week after Election Day.
She becomes the city’s second Black mayor and takes over amid a furor over racist and inappropriate remarks by council members on an audio recording of an October 2021 meeting that was leaked last month. Two of the three council members heard on the tape have so far refused to step down despite widespread calls for their resignation.
Bass was heavily outspent by Caruso, a 63-year-old billionaire who reportedly contributed more than $100 million of his own money. Bass was backed by the city’s Democrat establishment and had support of the city’s influential labor unions.
She succeeds outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat and son of the man who prosecuted O.J. Simpson in the mid-1990s, Gil Garcetti.
Eric Garcetti was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the U.S. ambassador to India but more than year later that nomination was stalled in Congress.
Los Angeles’ first black mayor, Tom Bradley, served two decades in the job, from 1973 to 1993. His name adorns the international terminal of Los Angeles International Airport.