U.S. Representative Karen Bass officially announced plans to leave Washington D.C. and run for mayor of LA. This makes her the de facto frontrunner in a field that already contains five other Democrats. That includes LA City Council members Joe Buscaino and Kevin DeLeon, plus City Attorney Mike Feurer. Rumors continue to circulate that former LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner and billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso may also enter the race.
“This is the final step of what's been a rather sophisticated rollout of hints and rumors for months,” says Raphe Sonenshein, the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA. “It really kept everybody kind of at a boiling level of interest.”
He says the mayor's office might be a new challenge for Bass, even though she held a steady political presence in Washington D.C. for the last decade, including chairing the Congressional Black Caucus.
In a recent MSNBC interview, Bass said homelessness would be her number one priority. But Sonenshein points out that she hasn’t shared many specifics.
Where does Bass hold political support? Sonenshein says it lies with the Black, liberal, and progressive communities in LA. But he points out she will need more as the race progresses.
“She'll need additional partners outside the Black community. She may actually have chances in other communities where there's already candidates running, because there's a lot of crossover voting in LA these days.”