U.S. Rep. Karen Bass expanded her lead on Saturday against businessman Rick Caruso in the race to be the next mayor of Los Angeles, with an updated tally putting the veteran politician 9,463 votes ahead of the developer and closer to declaring victory as the first woman ever to lead the city.
The race was still far from settled, but the totals from an additional 29,000 ballots had Bass at 50.78% to Caruso’s 49.22%, according to the latest tranche of results from the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office.
Until Friday, Caruso had a tiny lead on the congresswoman of one-half percentage point, or 2,695 votes, but results from about 60,000 ballots released Friday and Saturday showed Bass overtaking and then widening her lead. Independent analysts suggest that a minimum of 270,000 ballots remain to be counted, the vast majority of them mail-ins.
“We now have three ballot dumps that are right around 60-40 for Karen Bass. In each of these sets of ballots, she’s currently beating him by 20 points,” said Paul Mitchell, an expert in voting patterns who has been closely following L.A.’s election results. Mitchell said the “trend” of the three latest tranches of votes made a Bass victory more likely.
“After looking at the last three batches where Bass was winning by 20 points, he’d not only have to flip that but go the other direction,” Mitchell said. “There’s not an intellectually credible reason to suggest that the late votes should break much differently than they are right now.”
After the results were released Saturday evening, Bass said in a statement that she was “honored and grateful for the support.”
“Our campaign was people-powered by thousands of volunteers, sending a message that we are committed to solutions for homelessness, public safety and affordability in every neighborhood and for every community,” Bass said. “I am optimistic and looking forward to the next update.”
Since Tuesday’s election, both would-be mayors have taken decidedly different approaches as the protracted ballot counting continued.
Bass has remained out of the spotlight, spending time with family and staff members. Caruso has kept up with public appearances, including a visit to Langer’s Deli just west of downtown L.A. and on Friday, to a Veterans Day parade where he expressed cautious optimism for victory.
Sara Sadhwani, an assistant professor of politics at Pomona College, said the results thus far appeared to mirror what transpired in the primary.
“On election night, Caruso was ahead, but as mail-in ballots are collected and counted, Bass is seeing a surge of more progressive voters,” Sadhwani said.
In other election results released Saturday, only a few races had significant changes.
In the race for L.A. County supervisor in the 3rd District, Lindsey Horvath, a West Hollywood City Council member, more than doubled her lead to 1,500 votes above her opponent, state Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys). Horvath had 50.23% to Hertzberg’s 49.77%.
In the race for L.A. County sheriff, former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna expanded his lead of 259,184 votes over incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Luna had 58.78% to Villanueva’s 41.22%. Nearly 1.5 million votes have been counted in that closely watched race. Luna had cast himself as a reform-minded leader who would have a far less fractious relationship with the county’s five-member Board of Supervisors than Villanueva, and bring stability to the scandal-plagued department.
L.A. County generally releases new vote totals only twice a week. That allows for more substantial updates, rather than incremental ones ‘where things are bouncing back and forth,’ the county’s top voting official said.
In other L.A. races, city attorney candidate Hydee Feldstein Soto continued to lead attorney Faisal Gill. Feldstein Soto has 57.63% of the vote, to Gill’s 42.37%, according to Saturday’s results.
In the City Council race for a Glassell Park-to-Hollywood seat, labor organizer Hugo Soto-Martinez maintained his edge over Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who is seeking a third term. Soto-Martinez leads 53.3% to O’Farrell’s 46.7%.
On the Westside, attorney Erin Darling made a marginal inroad in the lead held by fellow attorney Traci Park. But Park still had a nearly 9-point lead over Darling in the race to succeed Councilmember Mike Bonin.
In the race to replace Councilmember Paul Koretz for a Fairfax-to-Bel-Air seat, political aide Katy Young Yaroslavsky continued to lead attorney Sam Yebri, 57.28% to 42.72%.
Attorney Tim McOsker also maintained a significant lead over neighborhood council member Danielle Sandoval in the race for the San Pedro-to-Watts District 15, with McOsker at 65.32% and Sandoval at 34.68%.
In the city controller’s race, accountant Kenneth Mejia was well on his way to being declared the official winner. Koretz conceded earlier in the week, and the results showed Mejia at 61.2% to Koretz’s 38.8%.
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Matt Hamilton is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting with colleagues Harriet Ryan and Paul Pringle and was part of the team of reporters that won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. A graduate of Boston College and the University of Southern California, he joined The Times in 2013.
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