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CNN Projection: Karen Bass and Rick Caruso advance in Los Angeles mayoral race

Democratic Rep. Karen Bass and real estate developer Rick Caruso will advance to a November election in the Los Angeles mayoral race, CNN projects, in a contest that has been shaped by issues of crime and homelessness.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Either candidate could have avoided the runoff by winning a majority of the vote in Tuesday’s nonpartisan race to succeed term-limited Mayor Eric Garcetti. But since no one took a majority, Bass and Caruso, the top two finishers, will face off in the fall.

If elected, Bass would be the first woman and the first Black woman to lead America’s second-largest city.

Bass served in the California State Assembly prior to her time in Congress. In 2008, she made history as the first Black woman to serve as speaker of a state legislature, according to her congressional biography.

The six-term congresswoman currently represents California’s 37th District. She has championed efforts to shape public policy in areas like child welfare, foster care and prison reform. She chaired the Congressional Black Caucus for two years and helped to lead policing overhaul efforts after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in 2020.

The longtime lawmaker was one of several contenders on President Biden’s running mate short list during the 2020 campaign. Though Biden ultimately selected Kamala Harris as his vice president, his consideration of Bass threw her name into the national spotlight. Bass earned the endorsement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another California Democrat, in the mayoral race.

In her campaign for mayor, Bass has forged a coalition of White progressives and Black voters and has sought to expand on that by engaging Latino voters and other groups across Los Angeles. She’s emphasized the depth of her policy experience and her reputation as collaborative listener and legislator.

She’s highlighted her early work as a physician assistant in the emergency room and her experience bringing together Black and Latino community organizers in South LA in the early 1990s to address the root causes of crime and the crack epidemic through the nonprofit she founded, Community Coalition. She has also pointed to her role as a dealmaker when she led the California State Assembly after the 2008 financial crisis — making budget decisions that earned her a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2010.

Caruso, a Republican-turned-Democrat and shopping mall magnate, has built a platform promising to deal with the city’s rise in crime and its staggering homelessness crisis.

He is also a former city police commissioner and the former head of the USC Board of Trustees. He’s long eyed the mayor’s race, all while donating generously to both Republicans and Democrats. But he is best known for the meticulously groomed, open-air malls that he has built in Los Angeles that are awash in 1950s Americana, with splashing fountains, trolley cars, valet parking and a seemingly unending loop of Frank Sinatra.

Caruso, who campaigned on his outsider status and has spent more than $45PrWcWBvSAXGj8bD2EAcwLJEf6Bkfw9Y1EknVsZCggqiNixWMwTX9HNJQ24FVfuLa4t8eXt1HPA1iUitADJLCoS5ua3WQR.

“I don’t care how much money you spend, it’s the power of the people that wins,” Bass said through a megaphone during one of her campaign stops Tuesday evening.

From CNN’s Shawna Mizelle, Ethan Cohen, Melissa Holzberg DePalo and Maeve Reston

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