The rich and famous pick their favorites in LA mayor’s race

Hosted by

Donations are pouring in as the Los Angeles mayoral election shapes up to be the most expensive in history. And more wealthy donors, including Hollywood celebrities, are beginning to voice their support and write checks. Photo by Shutterstock.

A record-breaking amount of money is being poured into the Los Angeles mayoral race with Hollywood celebs, dignitaries and even out-of-state donors picking their sides. And a big chunk of that money is likely to be spent before the primary election that will whittle down the crowded field into the top two candidates.

The race overall has raised $35.6 million already, according to fundraising and spending disclosure statements. Journalist Jon Regardie, who’s pored over the public records, says donors to these candidates are a wide-ranging and diverse group.  

“You always have attorneys donating a lot of money to candidates. You have people in the real estate development field. You have people in the entertainment field.”

Actor Samuel L. Jackson and Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, recently donated $1,500 each to Karen Bass’ campaign, while “The Lego Movie” producer Phil Lord wrote a check to Mike Feuer’s campaign. Kevin de Leon has also received a donation from famed architect Frank Gehry. 

Although Rick Caruso does not have to raise campaign funds as the billionaire has written himself big checks, actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced her endorsement for him, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos is reportedly throwing support behind Caruso.

Regardie also says the candidates’ business and political friendships appear to come in handy when it comes to raising campaign funds.

“People support those who have worked with them in the past, and they will do so again,” Regardie observes. “You see real estate attorneys because they have a lot of business before City Hall, and they want to be sure that they're heard.”

Surprisingly for a local election, the mayoral race is seeing some donations coming from outside of the City of LA, and even in some cases from outside the state.

“Karen Bass, as we know, was in Washington, D.C. for 10 years as a member of Congress. Kevin de Leon [served as] the president of the State Senate, so there may be some of these law firms, real estate firms, etc. that have national offices.”

As only one of the candidates will end up clinching the coveted position at LA City Hall, donors are well aware that their choice may not make it to the finish line. But Regardie says if you have plenty of expendable cash, making a campaign donation is still a valuable investment.

“All of these candidates are likely to have some other prominent role within the future. People want to maintain those relationships whether for the immediate or more distant future.”




Chery Glaser