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Bass now leads Caruso by 36,000 votes in L.A. mayor’s race as margin widens

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Rick Caruso and Karen Bass.
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U.S. Rep. Karen Bass’ already substantial lead in the Los Angeles mayor’s race got even larger Tuesday, with the longtime Washington lawmaker pulling more than 5% ahead of businessman Rick Caruso, one week after election day.

The results marked the fifth straight updated vote totals in which Bass has gained ground on Caruso, a trend that most election observers have said seems all but certain to make Bass the first woman elected mayor in Los Angeles.

Bass now holds a 52.55%-47.45% lead — a 36,349-vote margin — according to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office. Tuesday’s update again heavily favored Bass, with the congresswoman from South L.A. taking in more than 60% of the roughly 33,000 newly counted ballots.

Bass has held a roughly 60%-40% margin or better over Caruso in every day of vote total releases since Thursday. That pattern harks back to the June primary, when Caruso forged into a 5-percentage-point lead on election night only to have mail-in ballots, which are mostly counted later, power Bass to a 7% victory margin.

Explore your precinct level results from the 2022 California midterm election

Nov. 15, 2022

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That also mirrors a national trend in which progressive Democrats like Bass saw the bulk of their winning votes come via the mail. Bass is a lifelong Democrat, while Caruso re-registered with the party just before this year’s election, saying he had become disillusioned with the GOP’s hard rightward shift.

The lead in the vote totals changed hands three times in the hours immediately after the polls closed on Nov. 8, with Caruso holding a 2.5-point lead on Wednesday morning. But since then, every new release of voting information from county officials has favored Bass, with the congresswoman taking the lead on Friday.

The latest update came a day after three experts in electoral politics said it was hard to construct a scenario in which Caruso, 63, could come from behind to beat the 69-year-old Bass.

Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, said Bass was “on track to win the mayoralty of Los Angeles.” Raphael Sonenshein, director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, said the vote totals appeared “to be moving in kind of an irrevocable direction” in Bass’ favor.

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