Los Angeles Mayoral Election

Los Angeles Mayoral Election

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former President Barack Obama all appear to have endorsed Rep. Karen Bass for the position of mayor of Los Angeles. Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, is absent from the list.

According to two people close to the governor who are familiar with his thinking, Newsom’s unusual decision to withdraw from a race that has unexpectedly tightened up is likely motivated by his reluctance to take on Rick Caruso, a billionaire former Republican who has spent enormous sums of money to defeat Bass.

They both have similar professional networks and access to political strategists. Additionally, Newsom has made it known in the press that he likes Caruso, a generous campaign donor. In August, Newsom remarked, “I’ve known Rick Caruso for years and years and years. Bass, who would be the first Black woman to lead Los Angeles, is seeing her edge erode, making the governor’s impartial stance increasingly apparent.

The Democratic establishment supports the congresswoman despite her opponent spending millions on an advertising campaign and a recent poll showing a statistical tie between the two. Michael Trujillo, a Democratic consultant who has managed LA mayoral elections, said of the governor’s choice that for Caruso, “a non-endorsement is a triumph, honestly.”

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While Newsom has justified his impartiality as a refusal to get involved in Dem-on-Dem disputes, he hasn’t had any trouble commenting on other intraparty contests, and the battle between Bass and Caruso isn’t your usual party fight. After years of fluctuating between the Republican Political and not having a preference, Caruso only recently decided to transfer his party affiliation.

Although he currently favours abortion rights, he has a history supporting anti-abortion organisations. According to Bill Burton, a Democratic consultant who assisted Obama’s first presidential campaign and is backing Bass, those elements make Newsom’s silence all the more puzzling.

He added that it seems odd that Newsom is neutral in a campaign where it’s effectively a Democrat versus a Republican. At the governor’s request, Caruso contributed approximately $60,000 to Newsom’s 2018 re-election campaign and $500,000 to California’s Covid-19 Response fund in 2020. Several dozen people, including Caruso, made up Newsom’s task team for business recovery.

Although Bass and former San Francisco mayor Newsom aren’t particularly close, Newsom has frequently complimented Bass for her decades of political involvement. In 2018 primary for governor, Bass supported Villaraigosa over Newsom, the former mayor of Los Angeles.

One California Democratic consultant who has known Newsom for a long time warned that the governor’s decision to abstain from the election could lead to criticism from the Democratic Party’s core supporters. The consultant remarked, “He’s calculated that ducking and covering is the safest technique on this one, but he looks more and more like he’s on an island.

According to the consultant, Newsom “literally has no part in this election.” Still, by not endorsing Bass, he is aiding her rival, who has spent $92 million portraying California’s largest city as a haven for corruption and incompetence. The consultant declared that “his staying out” while “every other Democrat in the city, state, and country is with [Bass] is a major triumph for Caruso.”

Political organisations of colour have previously criticised Newsom for not supporting Bass. Late last month, some organisations sent a statement labelling the governor’s support of Black women as “selective.” Those criticisms might bite him in a primary for the presidency.

Trujillo says, “I would imagine that for someone with hardly disguised national ambitions, trying to run his state effectively, he could consider displaying his enthusiasm for the woman who is about to become one of the most powerful African American elected figures in the country.”

Caruso’s campaign is managed by Bearstar Strategies, longstanding advisers to Newsom. However, Bass has received support from other Bearstar clients, such as Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Sen. Alex Padilla, and Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Nathan Click, a spokesman for Newsom, cited the governor’s past comments that he favoured both candidates. When questioned about the contest in August, Newsom responded, “I have enormous regard for the congresswoman. Two inquiries for comment from Bearstar’s partners went unanswered.

Including in this election season, Newsom routinely supports candidates in races featuring two Democrats. He has endorsed Sacramento City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, who is challenging Dave Jones for the California Democrats’ nomination for state senator. Additionally, he supports Bob Hertzberg, the former majority leader of the state senate, in his campaign for LA County supervisor against West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath.

According to Bill Wong, a California Democratic consultant and former campaign director for the California Assembly Democrats, the governor also doesn’t stand to gain much by supporting Bass in the election. His recent efforts into national politics, such as challenging Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, have only boosted his image. He was already well-liked inside the party.

What Newsom “loses by staying out of the mayoral contest is minimal compared to all the enormous wins he’s receiving by going after DeSantis and identifying himself on his own higher level as governor,” Wong claimed.