Alex Padilla, Nury Martinez endorse Karen Bass for mayor

Sen. Alex Padilla, Rep. Tony Cárdenas, Rep. Luz Rivas and Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez rallied outside their former high school on Wednesday to greet Rep. Karen Bass in the Los Angeles mayoral race support.

San Fernando High School – their shared alma mater – was an unlikely breeding ground for political power in the state.

Located in a mostly Hispanic, working-class neighborhood in the northeast San Fernando Valley, this public high school has kick-started the careers of numerous current and former California politicians.

The morning press conference just outside the school gates was something of a homecoming for the four elected officials standing alongside Bass. But it should also symbolize their political clout and deep roots in these Valley neighborhoods — and the Latino voters they hope to turn to Bass.

“We fight for working-class communities — communities like the northeast San Fernando Valley — and we’re proud Democrats,” Padilla said. “And each of us has a unique relationship with Karen Bass.”

Martinez, a Padillas high school classmate, spoke about how the supporting politicians shared a special bond, growing up in the community and returning to ensure the same neighborhoods “get our fair share.”

Bass may have popped up across town, but she shares a “laser focus on communities,” Martinez said, describing the congresswoman as a leader who deeply cares about struggling families in the city.

With the contest to lead the country’s second-largest city in less than three months, both Bass and her opponent Rick Caruso have focused heavily on reaching Latino voters, who make up more than a third of the city’s voters.

Latino voters favored Caruso in the primary, as did voters in northeast valley neighborhoods like Pacoima and Sylmar.

In Los Angeles counties with at least 80% Latino populations, Caruso received 34% of the primary vote and Bass received 27%, according to a Times analysis. Councilor Kevin de León, who is yet to endorse a candidate in the general election, garnered 24% of the vote in those boroughs, far exceeding his citywide share of the vote.

Given the relatively low turnout in the city’s Latino-heavy counties, Caruso and Bass not only want to woo De León voters and win support from their opponent camps — they also hope to activate new voters who skipped the primary.

That reach has been very visible to both candidates since the June election.

In recent weeks, Bass was supported by the political arm of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles at a crowded press conference. She also joined Latina executives for a Las Mujeres por Karen Bass event at La Placita Olvera and snacked with local executives at the annual Boyle Heights Taco Festival over the weekend.

Caruso’s recent campaigns have included meeting members of the Latino Restaurant Association, a Latinos for Caruso party in Highland Park, and visits to small Eastside businesses. His campaign also invested heavily in Spanish-language advertising ahead of the primary.

Wednesday’s confirmation event comes just after a week after President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced their support for Bass. Bass has a near-monopoly on endorsements from democratically elected officials, with significant support at all levels of government.

But she has no connection to the San Fernando High School alumni: At least one fellow Tiger, comedian George Lopez, has endorsed Caruso. Alex Padilla, Nury Martinez endorse Karen Bass for mayor

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