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Los Angeles mayoral race favors Karen Bass, Rick Caruso: What to know

Rick Caruso (2nd R) makes a rebuttal during the mayoral debate with candidates (from L) Joe Buscaino, Kevin de Leon, Karen Bass and Mike Feuer at USC's Bovard Auditorium, March 22, 2022 in Los Angeles.
  • The race for Los Angeles mayor is largely between the two front-runners: Billionaire developer Rick Caruso and Rep. Karen Bass.
  • If no single candidate gets 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will head to a November runoff.
  • Homelessness, housing and crime are among the top issues for voters in LA

LOS ANGELES – Voters will have their say Tuesday in Los Angeles’ primary race for mayor – an election that could signal a shift in the second-most populated city in the country.

The Tuesday election could reveal more than who will succeed Eric Garcetti, who was nominated to be the US ambassador to India, in a city known nationally as a progressive trendsetter.

A number of polls have signaled voters are concerned over the state and direction of the city amid increased headlines about crime and the spread of homelessness, which tops 40,000 in the city of 4 million. Many voters have expressed a loss in confidence in elected leaders and feelings of both frustration and worries over safety. Rent prices continue to rise, too, and gas averages more than $ 6 a gallon, among the most expensive prices in the country in a sprawling city known for long commutes.

Polls show a close contest as the pool of candidates has mostly centered their campaigns around those contentious issues, from housing and homelessness to crime and policing.

The race has featured celebrity endorsements and big-name politicians. Here’s what you need to know:

Businessman Rick Caruso waves at the start of a mayoral debate at the Student Union Theater at the California State University, Los Angeles campus on May 1.

Who is running for Los Angeles mayor?

Twelve candidates qualified to appear on the June 7 ballot but the race is largely seen as being among a few Democrats.

Polls, including one released in April by the University of California, Berkeley, show a close race between the two frontrunners: Rep. Karen Bass and billionaire developer Rick Caruso. Bass, 68, is a favorite of the party’s progressive wing, while Caruso, 63, is a political shape-shifter who calls himself a “centrist, pro-jobs, pro-public safety Democrat.”

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