Will Biden or Obama endorse Karen Bass for L.A. mayor?

Just five days before this month’s mayoral election, the nation’s top housing official with Rep. Karen Bass made an unusual move in Los Angeles, helping the mayoral candidate show she would address the city’s homelessness crisis by calling friends in the federal government.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia L. Fudge’s visit to a subsidized apartment building was technically in her official capacity and was paid for with US tax dollars, not Bass campaign funds.

Fudge’s presence, however, fitted right in with Bass’s central campaign argument – that her life in Democratic politics and her national connections are an asset in solving the city’s most pressing problems.

Now that Bass (D-Los Angeles) is locked in a two-way race with billionaire Rick Caruso, campaign strategists and allies expect Bass to ramp up on that front — seeking support and enlisting visits from national Democrats.

Such public commitments from high-profile party officials would help Bass draw a sharp distinction from Caruso, who only recently registered as a Democrat and is new to electoral politics. Among those on Bass’ wish list: President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Obama.

Earning these endorsements is not guaranteed and involves risk. But Bass’ allies believe they’re worth taking.

Caruso came within 7 percentage points of Bass in the primary. He far outstrips them, banking on disaffected voters from both parties, fed up with crime, homelessness and public corruption, to fill the gap.

Bass’ allies say she needs to show she’s tackling the same issues head-on, while making a partisan appeal to the city’s vast base of Democrats who traditionally put progressive candidates in office.

Confirmations, especially from Washington, are not often crucial in local competitions. But Bass’ allies say the National Democrats can cast a positive light on their years in the US House of Representatives and the state legislature and reaffirm their party allegiance.

“It would have this side effect,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), a bass endorser. An endorsement would have the benefit of “reminding people that Karen is a longtime Democrat who spent many years working in government to solve problems,” he said.

Bass’s campaign, which has little incentive to publicly champion endorsements it may not get, declined a request for comment. A spokesman for Fudge called her performance with Bass, which included no political endorsement, “routine” and just one of many visits to cities she’s made across the country.

Peter Ragone, a spokesman for the Caruso campaign, dismissed the importance of national support in the race, stressing the campaign’s position that although Caruso had changed his party registration more than once, he was now a Democrat.

“We believe voters will have a clear choice between two Democrats and who will actually be able to solve the problems of homelessness, crime and corruption,” Ragone said. “That’s what this election will decide.”

While some recommendations have helped candidates win voters, overcome skepticism, or reinforce campaign messages, they’re not always successful. Former President Clinton, for example, interceded on behalf of Wendy Greuel, a former city controller, in her 2013 campaign for mayor. She lost to Eric Garcetti.

Some Bass devotees disagree with the idea that endorsements don’t count. Not all are of equal weight, they admit. However, many say the early approval stamp of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat, along with other House colleagues, demonstrated the benefits of such aid. A nod from Biden could be even more significant.

“I would encourage President Biden to support your campaign,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), a Bass supporter, in a statement. “Having the mayor of one of America’s largest and most influential cities aligned with government values ​​and priorities is a power multiplier for any president.”

It is not clear when endorsements might take place. A consultant supporting Bass said endorsements, if they come, would be most effective in September or October. This is when the attention is greatest and both candidates urge voters to send in ballots or go to the polls.

One endorsement that seems uncertain comes from California’s top elected official – Governor Gavin Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor who is taking an increasingly visible and vocal role in the national Democratic conversation. In a recent television interview, Newsom said he is good friends with both candidates. And so far he has stayed out of the fray.

Bass has several risks in framing the race as a national referendum on the Democratic Party, according to interviews with local and national Democrats, some of whom have ties to Biden and Obama. Biden, in particular, may not be of much help even in predominantly Democratic Los Angeles. His approval rating in polls has fallen below 40% nationwide as his party expects big losses in November’s midterm elections. An April poll put Biden’s approval rating in Los Angeles at just over 50%.

Support for national Democrats may also contribute to Caruso’s strategy of portraying Bass as an establishment figure. He argues that Bass bears some responsibility for the perceived failures of previous governments.

“She has good intentions, but she’s had over 20 years and all the troubles of her tenure in Congress [and the statehouse] have gotten worse, and that’s not a hopeful sign for the future,” Caruso told the Times days before the primary.

Both campaigns have talked about homelessness and public safety, but Caruso has rarely strayed from the issues. Its framing makes such issues appear far removed from the political debates in Washington.

Several people with knowledge of the race and the White House process expect Biden to seriously consider backing Bass, and they expect progressives to start pressuring the president to support her campaign.

Although the election is bipartisan, Los Angeles is a Democratic stronghold. The state’s system allows the top two finishers to vote in the general election regardless of party affiliation. During the primary, some progressives criticized Caruso’s wealth and developer background. They also criticized the former Republican’s political affiliation and his financial support for anti-gun and anti-abortion candidates. For his part, Caruso says he is pro-choice.

Another factor in Bass’s favor in the White House is that she’s a black woman, and black women are a major constituency within the Democratic Party. Biden has made a concerted effort to bring black women into powerful and public positions — he has made Harris his vice president, won the confirmation of the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and a black woman as his White House spokeswoman appointed.

Biden is also familiar with Bass because she was on his short list of contenders for his vice presidential nomination. Balancing such approval is a historical precedent — presidents don’t typically try to tip the scales in intra-party duels or mayoral races. Biden also has a penchant for only backing candidates who backed him early in the presidential primary. Bass joined the Biden platoon fairly late after major party figures rallied around him.

Harris, who was elected three times nationally and remains a resident of Los Angeles, could also prove to be an effective proxy. She is not known to have a close relationship with Bass; However, they worked together on policing issues when Harris was in the Senate. Harris would only back Bass in coordination with Biden, the National Democrat said.

Several senior Democrats said Jeffrey Katzenberg, the media mogul and Bass supporter who is close to Biden and Obama, could act as a go-between to seek White House help. Katzenberg declined to comment.

Obama endorsement is less likely. One person familiar with his thinking noted that he generally did not get involved in races between Democrats “and would not expect to deviate under the circumstances.”

Obama and Bass are “not particularly close,” the person said.

Both Bass and Caruso have received dozens of endorsements from unions and chambers of commerce. Being Hollywood, they also highlighted celebrities who endorsed their candidacy, using star power to grow their social media profiles. For example, Caruso gained support from former Mayor Richard Riordan, the city’s most powerful police union, Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Ultimately, though, big-name testimonials only go so far, said former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has championed Bass extensively.

“I don’t think support wins elections, be it national support or local support,” Villaraigosa said. “Candidates do.”

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-06-24/karen-bass-mayor-endorsement-biden-harris-obama Will Biden or Obama endorse Karen Bass for L.A. mayor?

Alley Einstein

USTimesPost.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimespost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button