U.S. Representative Karen Bass extended her lead on Saturday against businessman Rick Caruso in the race to become 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 to lead the city.
The race was still far from settled, but the totals of 29,000 extra ballots had Bass at 50.78% to Caruso’s 49.22%, according to the latest installment of results from the LA County Clerk’s Office.
Until Friday, Caruso had a narrow lead over the MP by half a percentage point, or 2,695 votes, but results from around 60,000 ballots released Friday and Saturday showed Bass overtaking and then widening his advance. Independent analysts suggest there are at least 270,000 ballots left to count, the vast majority of them being mail-outs.
“We now have three ballots that are around 60-40 for Karen Bass. In each of those rounds of ballots, she currently beats him by 20 points,” said Paul Mitchell, a voting habits expert who has closely followed the Los Angeles election results. Mitchell said the “trend” of the last three voting brackets made a Bass victory more likely.
“After looking at the last three lots where Bass was winning by 20 points, he should not only reverse that, but go the other way,” Mitchell said. “There is no intellectually credible reason to suggest that late votes should break up much differently than they do now.”
After the results were released on Saturday night, Bass said in a statement that she was “honored and grateful for the support.”
“Our campaign has been fueled by thousands of volunteers, sending the message that we are committed to finding solutions for homelessness, public safety and affordability in every neighborhood and for every community,” Bass said. “I’m optimistic and looking forward to the next update.”
Since Tuesday’s election, the two would-be mayors have taken decidedly different approaches as the extended counting of ballots has continued.
Bass has stayed away from the spotlight, spending time with his family and staff members. Caruso tracked public appearances, including a visit to Langer’s Deli just west of downtown LA and Friday at a Veterans Day parade where he expressed cautious optimism for victory.
Sara Sadhwani, an assistant professor of politics at Pomona College, said the results so far seemed to mirror what happened in elementary school.
“On election night, Caruso was in the lead, but as mail-in ballots are collected and counted, Bass sees a surge of more progressive voters,” Sadhwani said.
In other election results released on Saturday, only a few races saw significant changes.
In the race for LA County Supervisor in the 3rd District, West Hollywood City Councilman Lindsey Horvath more than doubled her lead to 1,500 votes above her opponent, Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D -Van Nuys). Horvath had 50.23% to Hertzberg’s 49.77%.
In the race for LA County sheriff, former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna increased his lead by 259,184 votes over incumbent Alex Villanueva. Luna had 58.78% to Villanueva’s 41.22%. Nearly 1.5 million votes were counted in this closely watched race. Luna had presented himself as a reformist leader who would have a far less fractious relationship with the county’s five-member Board of Supervisors than Villanueva, and would bring stability to the scandal-ridden department.
In other races in Los Angeles, candidate for city attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto continued to lead attorney Faisal Gill. Feldstein Soto has 57.63% of the vote, compared to 42.37% for Gill, according to Saturday’s results.
In the city council’s race for a Glassell Park seat in Hollywood, labor organizer Hugo Soto-Martinez maintained his advantage over councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who is seeking a third term. Soto-Martinez leads 53.3% to 46.7% for O’Farrell.
On the west side, attorney Erin Darling made a marginal foray into the lead held by fellow attorney Traci Park. But Park still had a nearly 9-point lead over Darling in the race to succeed board member Mike Bonin.
In the race to replace Councilman Paul Koretz for a seat from Fairfax to Bel-Air, 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 Ward Councilwoman Danielle Sandoval in the race for District 15 from San Pedro to Watts, with McOsker at 65.32% and Sandoval at 34.68%.
In the City Comptroller 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 percent to Koretz’s 38.8 percent.