Rep. Karen Bass is now more than four points ahead of billionaire Rick Caruso in the race for Los Angeles mayor, her widest lead yet as ballots continue to be counted in a contest that was the city’s most expensive ever.
Bass is now about 30,000 votes ahead of Caruso, according to the latest vote drop from LA County released Monday evening, which extended the congressmember’s previous lead by more than 20,000 votes.
Election officials say the updated figures represent an additional 191,312 ballots counted countywide, for a cumulative total of 1,799,951 ballots counted. An estimated 655,300 ballots remain to be counted. The race has yet to be called, and the next update from elections officials is expected to come Tuesday.
California mails every voter a ballot and allows those postmarked by election day a week to arrive at election offices. As a result, the final count can take a week or longer.
The LA mayor’s race has been the most expensive contest the city has ever seen, and among the most contentious. Bass, who got her start organizing in South LA before moving onto the state Legislature and later Congress, has the backing of the party establishment, including the White House and former President Barack Obama. Caruso, known for his luxury retail centers like the Grove, is a former Republican who only registered as a Democrat shortly before entering the race.
Caruso spent his way into contention this year, dropping $100 million of his personal fortune to bombard LA airwaves with promises to “clean up” the city’s increasingly severe homelessness problem and crack down on crime and corruption in city government. He initially showed strong returns on election night, but that lead quickly dwindled in the following days as more mail-in ballots were counted.