Democrat Bass wins race for Los Angeles mayor, defeating Caruso
LOS ANGELES, Nov 16 (Reuters) - 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.
"The people of Los Angeles have sent a clear message: It is time for a change and it is time for urgency," Bass said in a written statement, adding that she would "hit the ground running" on homelessness and crime.
Caruso, a former Republican, also ran as a Democrat in deeply liberal Los Angeles, and the hard-fought campaign was too close to call until a full week after Election Day.
Bass 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 used more than $100 million of his own money in the campaign. Bass was backed by the city's Democratic establishment and had the support of labor unions.
She succeeds outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat and son of Gil Garcetti, the man who prosecuted O.J. Simpson in the 1990s.
Eric Garcetti was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the U.S. ambassador to India but more than a year later that nomination was stalled in Congress.
"This is a historic moment and a win for all Angelenos. Mayor-elect Bass has been a personal friend for decades, and her leadership has been a constant source of inspiration and guidance during my years in office," Garcetti said in a written statement.
Tom Bradley, the first Black mayor of Los Angeles, served two decades in the job, from 1973 to 1993, and the international terminal of Los Angeles International Airport was named after him.
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